#Ukraine: providing and receiving support

Eurodoc participated in the Constitutive Assembly of the CoARA Coalition

Reforming Research Assessment

The shortcomings of the current research assessment systems have been actively highlighted by Eurodoc members in past years. As such, Eurodoc has been proudly involved in the creation of the Scoping report (published in November 2021) and happily participated in the broad movement resulting from these discussions As a major milestone, Eurodoc has been among the early signatories of the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, as presented during the plenary session of the European Research & Innovation Days. The agreement not only shows that the problems faced in research assessment are being taken seriously, but also that swift, comprehensive, and broadly supported action toward reform is possible. As laid out in the agreement, implementing new principles and a successful shift of premises with a systematic reform will require a global coalition to facilitate exchanges of information and mutual learning between all those willing to improve research assessment practices.

The scope of the coalition and its importance on a global scale is well highlighted by the impressive 360 signatories that signed the agreement timely before the formal establishment of the coalition – a number that further grew to 399 signatories on November 26th. The Constitutive Assembly of the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) took place on 1 December 2022. During the Constitutive Assembly, the governance documents of the Coalition, the rules of procedures for chair, vice chairs, steering board, and working groups, as well as the code of conduct were, with overwhelming confidence, formally adopted in the version based on discussions at earlier assemblies of the stakeholder group. 

The position of the Chair was sought after by two very accomplished scientists, Prof. Dr. Rianne Letschert, who was nominated jointly by Maastricht University, the Universities of The Netherlands, and the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN), as well as Prof. Dr. Stan Gielen, who was nominated jointly by Science Europe, the Dutch Research Council, and Radboud University. With both candidates an excellent choice to lead the coalition, Eurodoc congratulates Prof. Letschert on the election by the Constitutive Assembly as the Chair of the CoARA coalition.

The election of vice-chairs featured 7 nominated candidates from a variety of scientific fields, from Early-Career Researchers to leading scientists. Eurodoc congratulates Karen Stroobants and Elizabeth Gadd for their election as Vice-chairs of the coalition.

The positions of the Steering Board were sought after by 29 nominated candidates. Eurodoc congratulates the newly elected members of the Coalition’s first Steering Board: Lidia Borrell-Damián, Paul Boyle, Yensi Alejandra Flores Bueso, Matthias König, Eva Mendez, Menico Rizzi, Sylvie Rousset, and Toma Susi, alongside the elected Vice Chairs Elizabeth Gadd and Karen Stroobants.

The secretariat will be hosted by the ESF (European Science Foundation) – Science Connect, a non-governmental, internationally-oriented, non-profit association established in France in 1974. Together with the Chair, Vice-Chairs, and Steering Board, ESF is committed to implementing the work plan endorsed by the Constitutive Assembly and managing the Coalition’s budget. The coordination and outreach activities will include the establishment of the first Working Groups, based on a brainstorming exercise during the meeting and consultation work to be conducted in the coming weeks.

Following the Constitutive Assembly, a roundtable allowed all interested stakeholders, media, and the general public, to hear about the outcomes of the assembly, promoting the wide dissemination of the first CoARA activities and outcomes planned to inspire other organisations to join.

Oleksandr Berezko, Eurodoc President: “Eurodoc is excited to be a part of the Coalition to improve research assessment in Europe and worldwide. We congratulate the newly elected Chair, Vice-Chairs, and Steering Board members wishing them the best of luck in their work on the reform. That being said, we stress again that the Coalition needs to fully acknowledge the critical role of Early Career Researchers in switching towards Open Science and more responsible research evaluation. Hence, CoARA should further explore how research should be assessed at different career stages.”

Sebastian Dahle, Eurodoc Vice-President: “Already before the Constitutive Assembly, we saw adaptations in national open science strategies, lawful requirements, and institutional regulations across Europe. The CoARA coalition will be the further driving force to keep up the momentum and ensure the systemic changes will be most fruitful for the individual researchers as well as for global science.”