Current systems and practices of research assessment have been under criticism for years: not only do they entail significant biases that are only slowly being addressed, they also incentivize against best scientific practices and exacerbate current problems in science and research, such as for example the reproducibility crisis. For over two decades now, the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) has been a strong advocate for good research culture, actively fostering the implementation of Open Science and engaging in the improvement of doctoral training and career development. With research assessment being one of our core priorities, we very much welcome the most recent gains and milestones achieved in the work towards a reform of research assessment for Europe.
Eurodoc has been proudly involved in the creation of the Scoping report (published in November 2021) and we are extremely happy to see the broad movement resulting from these discussions – now involving more than 350 organisations from diverse countries and institutional levels. This not only shows that the problems faced in research assessment are being taken seriously, but also that swift, comprehensive, and broadly supported action towards reform is possible. A major milestone has now been achieved with the publication of the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment.
The Agreement sets out a vision that recognises the diverse outputs, practices, and activities that maximise the quality and impact of research. Importantly, the reform is envisioned in a very practical manner, thus maximizing its chances to have actual impact and actionability through its focus on 4 core commitments and 6 supporting commitments that signees are opting to implement and support. These are fundamental for responsible practices and, once implemented, will provide a crucial common basis for all academic fields and disciplines.
Although the collection of signatures will only be launched on September 28th during the European Research & Innovation Days, it is possible to provide an early indication of signatures to the leading coordinators of the process at Science Europe already now. In light of our recognition of the urgent need for a reform and our strong commitment to the cause, Eurodoc has formally decided to join the Agreement and Coalition, and has notified the coordinators today.
Oleksandr Berezko, President of Eurodoc, emphasizes the importance of these new developments: “Open Science and responsible research practices will only go mainstream when a proper incentive and recognition system is broadly in place. A systemic approach is needed, and Eurodoc, as a representative of European early-career researchers, is ready to work towards the future of our shared research system.”
“Good research culture, research integrity, and reproducibility of research – these are just a few of the many aspects that are shaped by the way we assess and reward research,” Sebastian Dahle, Vice President of Eurodoc, added. “It is crucial that we move away from individual, journal-based quantitative metrics and instead represent all contributions to research and academia.”.
We strongly encourage organisations involved in research assessment as well as other stakeholders to consider signing the Agreement and to spread the word regarding the reform across their communities.