Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Book Chapter in European Higher Education at the Crossroads: Between the Bologna Process and National Reforms (Scott, P., Curaj, A., Vlasceanu, L., Wilson, L. (eds). Vol. 1. Springer, forthcoming.


This paper reviews the background to and assesses the usefulness of the various transparency instruments (e.g. college guides, accreditation, classification systems, benchmarking models, global rankings). While there are differences between these various “instruments”, they can all be considered as part of the growing trend for greater transparency, accountability and comparability which began with college guides or handbooks around 1970. It will then place the most recent European developments (e.g. U-Map and U-Multirank) and other EU-funded initiatives (Expert Group on the Assessment of University-based Research and the 3-M Project on Third Mission) within this context. In doing so, the paper will discuss the extent to which these initiatives provide greater transparency and information for stakeholders, and the impact that such initiatives are having on higher education. The paper asks to what extent these initiatives support broad higher education policy objectives, e.g. the modernisation agenda of higher education institutions, their strategic orientations and the requirements of knowledge-driven societies.