Abstract Studies on academic recruitment processes have demonstrated that universities evaluate candidates for research positions using multiple criteria. However, most studies on preferences regarding evaluative criteria in recruitment processes focus on a single country, while cross-country studies are rare. Additionally, though studies have documented how fields evaluate candidates differently, those differences have not been deeply explored, thus creating a need for further inquiry. This paper aims to address this gap and investigates whether academics in two fields across five European countries prefer the same criteria to evaluate candidates for academic positions. The analysis is based on recent survey data drawn from academics in economics and physics in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. Our results show that the academic fields have different evaluative cultures and that researchers from different fields prefer specific criteria when assessing candidates. We also found that these field-specific preferences were to some extent mediated through national frameworks such as funding systems.
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