22 September 2021 – The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) has received a 1.2 million US dollar grant from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – to identify, understand, and make visible criteria that academic institutions use to make hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions. The three-year Tools to Advance Research Assessment (TARA) initiative will support the development of new policies and practices for academic career assessment. It will include an interactive dashboard with recruitment benchmarks used by institutions, a resource toolkit to support institutions working on improving policies, and a survey of US institutions to understand attitudes and approaches to research assessment reform better.
“Journal-based metrics are very limited quality criteria for judging research and researchers,” says Sarah de Rijcke, Director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University, Netherlands, who together with Ruth Schmidt from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, collaborates with DORA on project TARA. “We want to shine a spotlight on how scholarly institutions are introducing more responsible forms of research assessment and develop a dashboard for them to make visible good practices.”
DORA was conceived at the 2012 American Society for Cell Biology meeting in San Francisco. It calls for improvements to the way science and scientists are evaluated and has been signed by around 20,000 individuals and institutions to date. “Research assessment reform is of vital importance for the scientific community and needs to valorize a richer set of activities that represent the scientific process holistically,” says Bernd Pulverer, Head of Scientific Publications at EMBO. “TARA will help add transparency to research assessment policies, aid in the spread of best practices and help prospective applicants find an institution that matches their expectations.”