The San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA) is a global initiative that aims to reduce dependence on journal-based metrics such as journal impact measures and citations towards a culture where importance is placed on the intrinsic value of research. The DORA declaration was published in 2012 and targets research funders, publishers, research institutes and researchers. The declaration has already been signed by more than 1,200 organisations and almost 14,000 researchers around the world. Signing DORA means that organisations must align their practices and procedures with the principles in this Declaration.In 2017 the HRB signed up to DORA to support the launch of a new HRB Open Research publication platform (www.hrbopenresearch.org). The endorsement of the Declaration fits with the values of the HRB research career frameworks, such as flexibility and diversity, open knowledge and research assessment (add link) and emphasises the HRB’s support for a research environment where importance is placed on the intrinsic value of research and its impact in society. The Declaration also aligns with the HRB’s effort in transitioning towards an open research environment. The key aim is to evaluate research and researchers on the merits of their research as a whole.
Although the HRB has never guided reviewers to evaluate research based on impact factors or H-index - in line with DORA and also other movements , e.g. the Leiden Manifesto - the following step have been taken by the HRB, particularly in the health research career-related schemes, to better align ourselves with the Declaration:
- Many schemes take in consideration the diversity of the researchers we want to attract and support within the health system in terms of disciplines, health and social care professions and past research experience. To this end active research experience is considered, which means career breaks, flexible workingarrangements, changes in sector (e.g. industry, health organisation/agency) are taken into account when assessing research experience. Social benefits, such as maternity, paternity leave, etc are also offered independently by the career stage (also to PhD candidates).
- We ask applicants to list several types of research outputs such as peer-review articles, research data, research material, databases, audio/video products, national and/or international reports, patents, etc.
- When requesting the most important research outputs we ask applicants to explain their specific role and the impact of the research findings. We also ask other synergistic activities, such as research process, outreach and societal impact, leadership, etc. These are aimed provide a broader and holistic impact of the researchers’ career and the research conducted.
- We provide guidance to peer-reviewers and panel reviewers on assessing the content, quality and impact/influence of the research outputs in the research field and/or in policy and practice when considering the track record and suitability of the researchers to the funding scheme and in delivering the research project. This guidance is provided through written guidelines, presentation at panel meetings and revised peer-review forms.
- The HRB also strongly expects that its awardees publish several types of outputs in its open publishing platform, HRB Open Research, which enables HRB funded researchers or collaborators to immediately publish and share their funding in a fast, open and transparent manner.
- The HRB is also tackling gender balance and unconscious bias within reviewers by providing additional written guidelines, asking them to watch a short video from the Royal society and by monitoring fairness during the panel meetings procedure. Various criteria and guidance documents for panel members and Chairs have been reviewed and updated or created new. HRB staff also received training in order to identify potential bias and how to tackle it.
- The National Framework for Transitioning to an Open Research Environment includes the following clause, referencing DORA, the Leiden Manifesto and the EU Open Science Policy Platform Expert Groups: “Funders and institutions will adopt open research metrics and ‘responsible metrics’, along with ways of rewarding the full diversity of outputs and of recording the broader social impact of research (‘next generation metrics’).