DORA Newsletter September 2021

DORA receives $1.2M grant from Arcadia to accelerate research assessment reform

DORA was awarded a three-year, $1.2M grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin to support Tools to Advance Research Assessment (TARA). TARA is a project to facilitate the development of new policies and practices for academic career assessment. It is a collaboration with Sarah de Rijcke, Professor in Science and Evaluation Studies and Director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University, and Ruth Schmidt, Associate Professor at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The grant provides DORA with generous support to:

  • Create an interactive online dashboard that tracks academic assessment criteria.
  • Conduct a survey of U.S. academic institutions to gain an understanding of U.S. attitudes and approaches to reform.
  • Create a toolkit of resources to support academic institutions working to improve policy and practice.

More information about the aim and scope of Project TARA can be found here.


New video resource for funders to promote responsible assessment

On September 8, DORA and Luxembourg National Research Fund released a jointly crafted resource for research assessment. Balanced, broad, responsible: A practical guide for research evaluators is a short, educational video that provides a checklist of six concrete suggestions for research funders seeking to improve responsible assessment of funding applications. These recommendations have been summarized in an accompanying briefing document that can be found in DORA’s resource library here.

Watch: Balanced, broad, responsible: A practical guide for research evaluators

Two new case studies document academic career assessment reform

The Open University (OU): Using top-down/bottom-up feedback and coordination, the OU conducted and published a study to understand the state of and lay the foundation for research assessment reform. Building from research and faculty surveys, the OU created a new faculty promotion track to reward publicly engaged research. Learn about the progress and change happening at the OU here.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL): EMBL is an intergovernmental organization for life science research, operating at six sites across five European countries. In 2020, EMBL convened a DORA working group to develop policies and guidance to codify existing good research assessment practices. Learn about the early reform efforts happening at EMBL here.


New blog post. Community calls explore situations for using the SPACE rubric

In July, DORA held two community calls to introduce the SPACE rubric and discuss how it might be used as a tool to gauge and support progress for academic assessment reform. In the first call, we heard from panelists who shared insights they gained while piloting the rubric. In the second one, we engaged in an open discussion with the audience. Read about the SPACE rubric and learnings from the calls in the summary blog post here.


New blog post. Webinar examines preprints in academic assessment

DORA organized a webinar in collaboration with ASAPbio in June to explore the utility and use of preprints in hiring, promotion, and tenure at academic institutions. Speakers shared how preprints are being evaluated, how the use of preprints can benefit early career researchers, and how incorporating preprints into assessment can help combat biases in academic hiring and promotion practices. Read about key insights from the webinar here.


New opinion piece. DORA Chair Stephen Curry discusses adherence to the declaration

In September, in a new opinion piece, DORA’s Chair Stephen Curry explored how to best support organizational signers and promote adherence to the principles in the declaration. Read the piece here.


Registration is open for the MetaScience 2021 Conference

DORA is pleased to partner with the Metascience 2021 Conference. Join the virtual gathering on September 16-18 and 23-25! Metascience 2021 will explore the themes of metascience and the scientific process through a global, interdisciplinary, cross-sector lens. This year’s virtual format is optimized for worldwide participation, taking place across time zones at peak hours to promote voices in metascience across regions. Register for the Metascience 2021 Conference here.

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