Updates from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Health Research Board Ireland

Each quarter, DORA holds two Community of Practice (CoP) meetings for research funding organizations. One meeting takes place for organizations in the Asia-Pacific time zone and the other meeting is targeted to organizations in Africa, the Americas, and Europe. If you are employed by a public or private research funder and interested in joining the Funder CoP, please find more information on our webpage.

DORA’s Funder Discussion Group meetings bring together members of the scientific community from around the world, connecting research funding organizations that support fair research assessment. During this quarter’s meeting on March 12, 2024, we heard about a wide range of topics relating to research assessment including the use of journal names, narrative-like CVs, and materials offered by DORA.

Africa, the Americas, and Europe

Value is often gauged by association, and academia is no exception. Researchers may unconsciously equate publishing in certain journals with prestige or lack thereof. Anna Hatch from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) described a new initiative to de-emphasize journal names in researcher assessment at the organization. As a first step, HHMI removed journal names from talk slides and poster presentations at their science meetings and replaced them with PMIDS, a persistent identifier that makes articles easy to find without giving away publisher information. This helped HHMI scientists become familiar with the idea. In 2023, HHMI expanded its efforts and began removing journal names from researcher assessment materials, including bibliographies. To support their scientists during the transition, HHMI created a citation style for Zotero, named “Howard Hughes Medical Institute” that removes journal names and provides persistent identifiers for the journal article and preprint if available. They also built a digital form for the bibliography that generates citations for assessment without journal names. The approach aims to reduce pressure on scientists to publish their results in highly selective journals, which often can lead to delays in the dissemination of research findings, extended training periods for graduate students and postdocs, and demoralized early career scientists. Hatch noted that the move also makes it clearer HHMI values the discovery itself, not the venue where it was published.

During this meeting we also heard from Annalisa Montesanti from the Health Research Board (HRB), who discussed the HRB’s use of a narrative-like CV in research career funding schemes. The HRB has been using this format since 2017 and revised it in 2019 and 2022 based on user feedback, HRB reflections and alignment with international best practice. This CV is a hybrid, containing sections that are narrative-based combined with some lists. It contains sections that allow researchers to paint a broader picture of themselves beyond metrics. For example, applicants are given the opportunity to write about career breaks, key contributions such as relevant research outputs, training and development, and societal impact. The HRB also includes a section for a “personal declaration” which is upstream to the CV. Feedback was obtained from both applicants and reviewers. The majority of responses from applicants said the CV gave a good picture of researchers’ contributions, and their experience in completing it was overall positive, with the majority of responses from reviewers saying that the format highlighted the impact of researchers well. They did, however, say these CVs are more difficult to assess, but a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics made it easier. Some other challenges were also identified and corrective actions were taken.



DORA’s Program Manager Haley Hazlett presented on the different mechanisms DORA uses to share information and resources with the community. These include DORA’s case study repository, resource library, and Reformscape.

Hazlett highlighted the case study repository, which provides detailed and contextualized examples of how academic institutions and national consortia are working to improve academic career assessment by reforming their culture, policies, and practices.

Within the resource library is a list of over 100 tools, policies, guidance, papers, etc. relating to research assessment, each one giving a quick glance of the resource in the form of a short summary. The resource library also contains DORA-produced tools and resources, some with helpful visuals. The resource library includes material for a wide range of actors in the academic ecosystem, including research funders, academic institutions, and publishers.

Lastly, Hazlett introduced DORA’s new platform, Reformscape, which has a range of information, resources, documents, etc. about implementing reform in regard to responsible research assessment. It is a community-led resource that is continuously evolving based on feedback to better serve those who want to use it. Users can also suggest resources they believe would be valuable to Reformscape.

After this presentation, attendees participated in a written discussion where they collectively gave insight into how DORA can better support responsible research assessment efforts at their institutions and include information from a larger geographic area. Some suggestions included having a standardized presentation about DORA’s resources that is readily accessible, providing funder-specific case studies, co-hosting webinars with other organizations, providing information on RRA-related grants, and more. They also discussed how to approach multilingualism in research and the challenges associated with translating work to make it more broadly available. Although the group did not have an easy answer to this challenge, DORA will continue to seek mechanisms to better incorporate multilingual content into its resources to improve representation of non-English content.

Casey Donahoe is DORA’s Policy Associate

Casey Donahoe
Casey Donahoe is a DORA Policy Associate (2023-2024).

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