The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is well known for its strong position on the need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics in decisions on hiring, promotion, or funding of academics. As such, it is sometimes taken to be an initiative merely focused on criticising the undue influence of one specific metric, the journal impact factor (JIF). But to see DORA just in those terms overlooks the many positive prescriptions that the declaration lays out for how to reform research assessment
In many ways, 2018 was a groundbreaking year for the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). It marked the fifth anniversary of the declaration’s release, and we were re-invigorated with a newly formed steering committee, chaired by Prof. Stephen Curry, and a community manager, Dr. Anna Hatch, all determined to effect real change in the scholarly community.
For the past five years, the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) has been a beacon illuminating the problems due to the excessive attention paid to journal metrics and pointing the way to improvements that can be made by all stakeholders involved in evaluating academic research and scholarship. Researchers, funders, universities and research institutes, publishers and metrics providers have all committed – at a minimum – not to “use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.”
We are pleased to announce the formation of an international advisory board to provide strategic guidance to DORA and to further our vision of advancing practical and robust approaches to research assessment globally and across all disciplines.
We are pleased to share three slide-decks with the DORA community! Science is communicated in part through presentations, and we hope that our supporters will feel empowered to initiate conversations about research assessment whenever they give a talk. We have three options available for download.
On behalf of the steering committee, I am pleased to announce a roadmap outlining DORA’s strategic plan to accelerate global research assessment reform over the next two years. The roadmap recognizes that signing the declaration is only a first step to creating meaningful cultural change in the scholarly community. Real change requires action at institutional, funder, national and international levels.
Signing the 2013 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is an important way for individuals and organizations to publicly acknowledge their commitment to improve research by strengthening research assessment. But it is only a first step. The next and more challenging steps require changes in academic culture to ensure that hiring, promotion, and funding decisions focus on the qualities of research that are most desirable – insight, impact, reliability and re-usability – rather than on questionable proxies.
We are pleased to release new badges for individuals and organizations that have signed the declaration. The badges show support for DORA, raise awareness about research assessment, and serve as a conversation starter with individuals or organizations that have not heard about DORA yet.
Welcome to the new DORA website! Please do not be alarmed. The fundamentals have not changed – the declaration remains the same – but thanks to support from a broad range of organizations, we have ambitious plans in place for the future.