The emergence of COVID-19 has drastically upended the academic enterprise. Because of physical distancing, many non-tenured faculty members are facing additional, unexpected obstacles in their promotion and tenure trajectory. Transitioning classes to online learning environments will detract from research efforts, and winding down laboratory operations will result in a more direct reduction in research output. While trying to stay healthy themselves, many faculty members are also balancing job responsibilities with kids at home, adapting to telework, etc.
We are pleased to announce our first webinar for the library community on Tuesday, April 7 at 11:00 AM Eastern. The webinar is open to all and will provide an update from DORA, offer ideas about the role that libraries can play to advance research assessment reform, and define next steps.
As Alison Mudditt described in her Scholarly Kitchen post last month, the path to reforming research assessment has been met with significant challenges. We agree with her that culture change is often a slow process. However, as DORA demonstrates, it is possible to identify tangible progress on the path to large-scale research assessment reform.
DORA community interviews provide supporters with opportunities to discuss innovations in research assessment and ways to initiate change in local communities. Our first interview of 2020 will be with the Director of Rescuing Biomedical Research, Dr. Christopher L. Pickett.
The Wellcome Trust has published draft guidance for the research organisations we fund on implementation of the core principles of DORA.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.
As 2019 winds down, the DORA steering committee and advisory board wanted to highlight the ways research assessment reform has advanced in the last year. From new data on assessment policies to the development of new tools, the scholarly community is taking action to improve research assessment in concrete ways.
The Dutch Research Council (NWO) is piloting a narrative CV format in the Veni scheme, its major funding instrument for early career researchers. The format advances showcasing diverse types of talent and encourages assessment of quality rather than quantity.
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.
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!”
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.