Published — 2021

Towards a reform of the research assessment system

Policies and guidance  For:FundersResearch institutes

In this 2021 report, the European Commission gathered input from European and international research stakeholders about how to facilitate the creation of criteria and processes for a more appropriate assessment of researchers and their work. The consultation happened between March and November 2021, collecting the views of stakeholders within the European research community on how to facilitate cultural and systemic changes necessary for reform. The consultation outcomes suggested that research organizations develop a coalition of research funding, research performing organizations, and other relevant organizations, committed to implementing changes in research assessment practices. The proposed way forward includes:

  • Signing an agreement including shared objectives, principles, and commitments towards research assessment reform.
  • Establishing a concrete timeframe for implementation to translate the commitments into effective change.
  • Maintaining a continuous dialogue with researchers during implementation, fostering mutual learning, and monitoring progress. 

The report also proposed a set of 10 principles to guide reform of the research assessment system and actions that coalition members could commit to. This includes: 

  • Focusing research assessment on quality and impact. Recognizing the diversity of researchers’ contributions, roles, and careers and supporting team science.
  • Rewarding practices that contribute to robustness, openness, transparency, and inclusiveness of research and the research process.
  • Promoting qualitative judgment with peer-review, supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators.
  • Promoting high-quality assessment that is evolutive, self-reflective, and used wisely.