Journal of Data and Information Science ›› 2018, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (4): 45-60.doi: 10.2478/jdis-2018-0020

• Research Paper • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Flemish Performance-based Research Funding System: A Unique Variant of the Norwegian Model

Tim C. E. Engels(),Raf Gun   

  1. Centre for R&D Monitoring (ECOOM), Faculty of Social Science, University of Antwerp, Middelheimlaan 1, 2020 Antwerpen, Belgium
  • Received:2018-09-20 Revised:2018-10-20 Online:2018-12-27 Published:2019-01-08


The BOF-key is the performance-based research funding system that is used in Flanders, Belgium. In this paper we describe the historical background of the system, its current design and organization, as well as its effects on the Flemish higher education landscape. The BOF-key in its current form relies on three bibliometric parameters: publications in Web of Science, citations in Web of Science, and publications in a comprehensive regional database for SSH publications. Taken together, the BOF-key forms a unique variant of the Norwegian model: while the system to a large extent relies on a commercial database, it avoids the problem of inadequate coverage of the SSH. Because the bibliometric parameters of the BOF-key are reused in other funding allocation schemes, their overall importance to the Flemish universities is substantial.

Key words: Performance-based research funding systems, Flanders (Belgium), Norwegian model, Web of Science, VABB-SHW