Carefully designed research assessment practices are key to making fair decisions on the quality and potential impact of funding applications and informed decisions on hiring and promotion of individual researchers. Current approaches tend to rely heavily on journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factor (JIF), Article Influence Score (AIS) and h-index. This development has fuelled an unhealthy ‘publish or perish’ culture and has demonstrable negative effects on the quality of scholarly outputs, the diversity of our research communities, and the trustworthiness of our research system.
ALLEA therefore strongly supports the transition to research assessment practices that are based on qualitative peer review, supported by the responsible use of quantitative indicators when appropriate. In addition, it will be vital to further stimulate the development and exchange new criteria, procedures, and tools for recognising and rewarding scientific excellence based on principles of quality, integrity, diversity, and openness.
ALLEA approaches the topic via various Working Groups and Task Forces, including the Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics, the Working Group on the ERA, and the Open Science Task Force, as well as through collaborations with partners such as the GYA (Global Young Academy). Together, the resulting publications, activities, and events (see below) seek to impact on ongoing EU policy debates directly and support the broader research community with reforming their assessment practices.
Academies themselves are no exception when it comes to the need to revisit how we recognise scientific excellence and promote the highest standards of research ethics and integrity. To support our members with developing or renewing their procedures and criteria for admitting new Academy fellows, ALLEA is facilitating the exchange of best practices that take into consideration national regulations, disciplinary profiles, context and culture (see this announcement from October 2022).
Dr Mathijs Vleugel
Scientific Policy Officer
Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment
Based on 10 high-level commitments, the ‘Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment’ establishes a common direction for research assessment reform. ALLEA contributed to the drafting of the Agreement and is a member of the global Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA).
The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for research assessment, and the emphasis on researchers taking responsibility for developing criteria and procedures in their communities aligns well with the core concept of self-regulation set out in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.
The Future of
Peer review is an essential pillar of research assessment. Together with the GYA (the Global Young Academy), and STM (the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers), ALLEA has been exploring challenges and possible ways forward as part of a workshop series on ‘The Future of Peer Review in Scholarly Communications’ and a follow-up webinar on ‘Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) in Scholarly Peer Review’.