By signing the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) on 14 July 2021, Technische Universität (TU) Berlin joined an international movement of researchers and institutions committed to greater equity and transparency in the assessment of scientific research findings. As of mid-July this year, 2,251 organizations and 17,721 individuals had signed up to DORA, among them the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Journal Impact Factor (JIF) plays a major role in assessing academic quality and was developed to determine the relevance of an academic journal in a particular area of research. However, JIF should not be used to draw conclusions about the quality of individual articles. This would lead to too much importance is being attributed to JIF, leading researchers to seek publication in journals with a high Journal Impact Factor (in other words, journals with a high number of citations). Other factors such as the accessibility of an article, i.e. whether it is published open access, or whether supplementary research data have been published, would be overlooked. This would inhibit the development of a freely accessible Open Science.
The need for science to pursue more cooperative rather than competitive approaches was pointed out – among others – by the European Commission in a document entitled “Evaluation of research careers fully acknowledging Open Science practices.” New assessment procedures are also being examined as part of the Berlin University Alliance’s objective to advance research quality and value.
In its “five design principles,” DORA challenges commonly held myths, both within academia and beyond, regarding the quality of research, and presents an alternative process for equitable research assessment. The five principles outlined by DORA are: instilling standards and structures into research assessment processes; fostering a sense of personal accountability in faculty and staff; prioritizing equity and transparency of research assessment procedures; adopting a portfolio view of researcher contributions; and refining research assessment procedures through iterative feedback.
The signing of DORA is also intended to further stimulate the critical examination of existing procedures at TU Berlin.
DORA’s five design principles:
Further information about DORA:
Information about the “Evaluation of research careers fully acknowledging Open Science practices” published by the European Commission: