UC signs Agreement for Reforming Research Assessment

Initiative gathers already more than 350 signatories

29 december, 2022≈ 5 min read

The University of Coimbra is one of the signatories of the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, an initiative that brings together more than 350 signatories, including public and private research funders, universities, research centres, institutes and infrastructures, associations (and their alliances), national and regional authorities, accreditation and evaluation agencies, societies and associations of researchers, and other relevant organisations, representing a wide diversity of views and perspectives. The agreement was also signed by the OPERAS European research infrastructure, integrated by UC, which is a member of the infrastructure's Executive Assembly.

The agreement aims to recognise the diverse outputs, practices and activities that maximise the quality and impact of research for the evaluation of research, researchers and research organisations. The document sets a common direction for changes in research evaluation practices, including principles, commitments and a timeline for reforms. The new vision for the research assessment requires that it will be based primarily on a qualitative judgement, for which peer review is central, and supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators.

The agreement’s initiative followed a call of interest by the European Commission, in January 2022, to be drafted in a co-creation exercise. Since July 2022, the document was publicly presented (read it via this link). The Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) is now being created and has an interim secretariat provided by Science Europe, the European University Association (EUA) and the European Commission.

The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment is based on 10 Commitments, which include topics such as the recognition of the diversity of contributions of research according to its needs and nature; the basing of research assessment primarily on qualitative evaluation; the purpose to abandon inappropriate uses of journal and publication-based metrics; the avoidance of ranking usage for research organisations; the commitment of resources in organisations to the reform of the research assessment; the reviewing and development of criteria, tools, and processes; the raising of awareness on the reform; the communication on progress made on the implementation of the Commitments; and the evaluation of practices, criteria and tools based on state-of-the-art research. The list of Commitments, their scopes and purposes are available in this link.

As stated by CoARA’s announcement on the Agreement, the reform movement underpinned by both the document and the coalition intends to be a space to advance together towards a higher quality, more impactful and more efficient, inclusive system.

OPERAS participation in the Agreement

OPERAS' participation in CoARA includes the provision of services that can enable the full range of practices in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities, where tools and indicators are still lacking. OPERAS supports CoARA's vision of innovative and open research evaluation practices that can be adapted to the diversity of scientific disciplines. Some examples of the services are:

  • quality assurance services such as the PRISM (Peer Review Information Service for Monographs) to increase trust in Open Access book publishing by improving transparency around the quality assurance process (peer review procedure);
  • the Metrics Service Portal, which collects usage and impact metrics related to published Open Access content from many different sources and allows for their access, display and analysis from a single access point;
  • the GoTriple platform, a multilingual and multicultural discovery service, that provides better findability of research results;
  • the Pathfinder service to support academic open access publishing.

The issue of reforming research assessment will be also included among the topics of the relevant OPERAS Special Interest Groups (Advocacy and Standards).

The infrastructure brings together 54 organisations in 18 countries and recommends that all members sign the Agreement.

| More information on CoARA |