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Rethinking Research Assessment

By Kristin Gecan

May 20, 2020

DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment) logo
ID associate professor Ruth Schmidt contributes to DORA project and briefing

Ruth Schmidt has collaborated with DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment) to develop a brief, “Rethinking Research Assessment: Ideas for Action,” which provides five design principles to help universities and research institutions improve research assessment policies and practices.

The brief will be circulated widely with the hashtag #AssessingResearch and and aims to help universities develop better research assessment practices, including by recognizing bias and prioritizing equity.

This latest work is an outgrowth of the October 2019 meeting, Driving Institutional Change for Research Assessment Reform, where Ruth joined DORA, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and a diverse group of stakeholders to consider how to improve research assessment policies and practices. The collaboration between DORA and ID will continue through the rest of 2020, bringing systems, behavioral, and human-centered perspectives to the issue of equitable and fair research assessment practices in higher education institutions in the form of a “toolkit.”

For scientists and academics, proxy measures of quality (like the Journal Impact Factor, which was originally created as a tool to help librarians identify journals to purchase) often impact hiring, promotion, and funding decisions. Organizations like DORA have formed in the interest of raising international awareness about the limitations of these current indicators as well as advocating for new kinds of measures and activities that institutions can learn from and adapt.