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  • 1 University of Sussex Science Policy Research Unit BN1 9RF Brighton (UK) BN1 9RF Brighton (UK)
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After explaining the reasons why science policy-makers face a growing need for more rigorous forms of research evaluation, we outline an approach combining bibliometric and peer-evaluation data that has been developed at the Science Policy Research Unit in the course of a programme of studies of Big Science specialties. The paper describes the results obtained when this method of converging partial indicators is applied to compared the past research performance of the accelerators at CERN — the joint European Laboratory for Particle Physics — with that of the world's other main accelerators. The paper concludes by demonstrating how, on the basis of an analysis of the factors that have structured research performance in the past, it is possible to arrive at a systematic set of conclusions about the future prospects for a major new research facility such as an accelerator.