At the October Executive Board meeting in Lausanne the LIBER Executive Board agreed to sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).
The Declaration, initiated in 2012 by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) together with a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals, recognises the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scientific research are evaluated. It has been signed by over 540 organisations and 12000 individuals to date.
LIBER recognises the pressing need highlighted by DORA to improve the ways in which the output of scientific research is evaluated by funding agencies, academic institutions, and other parties. The many and varied nature of the outputs of research means that journal based metrics, such as the Journal Impact Factor, are not suitable for the task of assessment of the quality of research outputs.
DORA sets out several practices which should be adopted in order to improve research assessment. LIBER libraries can help to support and increase the momentum toward more sophisticated and meaningful approaches to research evaluation by encouraging researchers to adopt the following practices from DORA:
- When involved in committees making decisions about funding, hiring, tenure, or promotion, make assessments based on scientific content rather than publication metrics.
- Wherever appropriate, cite primary literature in which observations are first reported rather than reviews in order to give credit where credit is due.
- Use a range of article metrics and indicators on personal/supporting statements, as evidence of the impact of individual published articles and other research outputs.
- Challenge research assessment practices that rely inappropriately on Journal Impact Factors and promote and teach best practice that focuses on the value and influence of specific research outputs.