Rethinking Research Assessment: Ideas for Action

We are pleased to announce a new briefing document from DORA and colleagues, “Rethinking Research Assessment: Ideas for Action,” which provides five design principles to help universities and research institutions improve their research assessment policies and practices.

The brief is a collaboration between DORA and Ruth Schmidt, associate professor at Illinois Institute of Technology, and is based on discussions held at a meeting co-sponsored by DORA and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in October 2019一Driving Institutional Change for Research Assessment Reform. The meeting convened a diverse group of stakeholders invested in research assessment reform, including faculty, university administrators, librarians, funders, scientific professional society staff, culture change experts, and representatives from other non-profit initiatives.

The brief outlines five common myths about research evaluation to help universities better understand barriers to change and provides analogous examples to illustrate how these myths exist inside and outside of academia. It also offers five design principles to help institutions experiment with and develop better research assessment practices, including:

  1. Instilling standards and structure into research assessment processes
  2. Fostering a sense of personal accountability in faculty and staff
  3. Prioritizing equity and transparency of research assessment processes
  4. Taking a big picture or portfolio view toward researcher contributions
  5. Refining research assessment processes through iterative feedback

Over the years, DORA has rallied support for responsible research assessment practices by asking academic institutions to focus on the content of researchers’ contributions, rather than relying on proxy measures of success. DORA also calls on institutions to consider the value and impact of all outputs of academic work for assessing research. These are significant requests, and we hope that these design principles will be a useful tool for institutions to move forward with research assessment reform.

 

Download: DORA_IdeasForAction.pdf