Working with research institutions to implement DORA

The Wellcome Trust has published draft guidance for the research organisations we fund on implementation of the core principles of DORA.  It aims to help organisations develop and adopt meaningful changes to research assessment practices that instil the buy-in and trust of their staff, and to encourage them to be proactive in reporting their progress and sharing their learning.

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Rewarding robust and reproducible research: Experiences from the pilot phase of implementing research assessment reforms for hiring professors at BIH/Charité (MERIT-PROF)

In the fall of 2017, the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin introduced five additional items to the online application form for professorships. These new items are a) A narrative on the candidate’s overall scientific contributions, b) Statements on the impact of the candidate’s self-selected top 5 publications , c) A record of the candidate’s open science and reproducible research activities, d) Information on the candidate’s contribution to team science, e) Academic age. 

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The Myth of the Three-Legged Stool

New faculty members at most (if not all!) research universities are given the same spiel: “your success here, and eventual promotion and tenure, is built on a three-legged stool, with one leg being research, one being teaching, and one being service.”  And shortly thereafter, well-meaning mentors and department heads will tell the newbie, sotto voce, “do as little service as you can get away with, preferably none, and the bar you have to meet for teaching is just, don’t suck!”

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How a working group began the process of DORA implementation at Imperial College London

The precise path taken to implementing DORA will depend on the history and organisational idiosyncrasies of each institution. Nevertheless, it is likely that the establishment of an internal working group or committee to consider how best to infuse the spirit of the declaration within the institution will be a sensible move in most cases. This is the approach we took at my university, Imperial College London, after we signed DORA in January 2017.

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What do preprints need to be more useful in evaluation?

When scientists publish a journal article, they are doing more than just disseminating their work: they’re attaching it to a journal title that will, rightly or wrongly, telegraph signals about its quality. Preprints help to unbundle communication from the other functions of journal publishing, and they allow evaluators—funders, hiring committees, and potential mentors—to read a candidate’s most recent work.

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Role of societies in helping improve research assessment

Scientific societies have a key role to play in changing and improving assessment of researchers. Many are key publishers of quality content and many of their journals are recognized as such without the burden of journal impact factors. They also play key roles in shaping the scientific culture of disciplines, including around ethics, authorship, and outreach, including in discussions at meetings and in career workshops.

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