Upcoming Strategies CoP Meeting – November 10th | The DORA Declaration: improving how research is assessed

The 5th Strategies CoP meeting, initially planned in September, will happen on November 10th, following the Matching-Events Month.

The members’ interest during the previous exchange (July 7th) towards a renewed - more qualitative - form of research assessment to tackle gender inequalities led the participants to dedicate the next session to the DORA Declaration.

Developed in 2012 during the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) addresses unintended cognitive and system biases that perpetuate inequitable review, promotion and hiring practices (Hatch & Schmidt 2020). The DORA declaration's primary goal was to draw attention to the overreliance on journal-based metrics (Journal Impact Factor, H-index) in research assessment — a practice that entails several problems: skewed citations distributions, lack of data transparency, lack of incentive for researchers to engage in other important missions that have a social impact such as teaching or mentoring (Hatch & Curry 2020). To this day, it has collected signatures from 2051 organizations and 16486 individuals.

The Declaration rapidly turned into an active campaign for change that provides practical guidance on best practices to better evaluate and assess research and researchers (see DORA’s good practices).

Intending to build a more inclusive and social vision of research “excellence”, the good practice upheld by the DORA declaration is especially relevant for people within academia who push for, design and implement gender equality plans. “Rethinking research assessment therefore means addressing the privilege that exists in academia”, as Hatch & Curry rightly point out (2020, 2).

During our next meeting (November 10th), guest speakers will be intervening to further present the declaration and provide concrete examples of new practices in higher education & research institutions. A Q&A session will follow the presentations.

In the meantime, members are invited to consult the DORA’s website, the good practices, and its briefing document that provide researchers with ideas of action.