Open science and research

Declaration of Research Assessment, DORA

There is a need to improve the ways in which the output of scientific research is evaluated by funding agencies, academic institutions, and other parties. Declaration of Research Assessment, DORA, was one of the first initiatives to improve the ways in which researchers and the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated.

The outputs from scientific research are many and varied, including: research articles reporting new knowledge, data, reagents, and software; intellectual property; and highly trained young scientists. Funding agencies, institutions that employ scientists, and scientists themselves, all have a desire, and need, to assess the quality and impact of scientific outputs. It is thus imperative that scientific output is measured accurately and evaluated wisely

A number of themes run through DORA recommendation:

  • The need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations;
  • The need to assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published; and
  • The need to capitalize on the opportunities provided by online publication (such as relaxing unnecessary limits on the number of words, figures, and references in articles, and exploring new indicators of significance and impact).

DORA offers recommendations for funding agencies, institutions, publishers, organisations that supply metrics, and for researchers.

For institutions

  • Be explicit about the criteria used to reach hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions, clearly highlighting, especially for early-stage investigators, that the scientific content of a paper is much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it was published.
  • For the purposes of research assessment, consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets and software) in addition to research publications, and consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.

For researchers

  • 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 output.
  • 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.

Have a look at other recommendations on research and researcher assessment

Leiden Manifest

Leiden Manifest offers best practice and principles on metrics-based research assessment

leiden manifest

National recommendations for responsible researcher evaluation

Researcher evaluation shapes and directs research. The entire research community should take responsibility for the principles and practices of researcher evaluation. This recommendation for the responsible evaluation of a researcher provides the basis for a functioning, diverse and flourishing research community.

open science toimintakultuuri

Go to Aalto Uuniversity Research assessments page

Research assessments

Aalto University is continuously assessing the quality of its research and artistic activities, and its societal impact. The assessment is based on peer review and internationally agreed best practices.

Two women analysing the content of a test tube
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