The Declaration on Research Assessment, or DORA, is a way to recognize, assess, and improve the way in which scholarly research outputs are evaluated. The declaration, which was developed in 2012 during the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, has become an initiative that is followed worldwide by all scholarly disciplines and key stakeholders including “funders, publishers, professional societies, institutions and researchers” (DORA, 2022).
DORA’s vision is to advance practical and realistic approaches to research assessment worldwide and across all the different scholarly fields. This leads to four main objectives: 1) Raise awareness about the new tools and techniques that are used in research assessment using metrics that align with core academic values in order to promote both consistency and transparency in decision making. 2) Facilitate implementation in order to help with the development of the newest policies and promoting best practices for hiring and funding decisions. 3) Catalyzing change in ways to speed up the process of reforming research assessment across multiple disciplines globally. 4) Improve equity by ensuring the belonging of a broad representation of researches that can help with the research assessment process and address structural inequalities in academia (DORA, 2022).
According to DORA’s vision, there are a number of ways and approaches to ensure that these goals are achieved in academia. Community engagement is a huge part of being a researcher. By publishing blogs and organizing community interviews, you can include the larger community in the process of reforming research assessment. However, this could only be done with a curated set of resources that can be shown to the community. Therefore, resource development is an integral part of research assessment. Having a collection of good practices and slide presentations with clarifying visuals will help include individuals in conversations about change to the research world (DORA, 2022).
This sort of large overhaul cannot be done on a purely individual basis. Connections need to be made, and networks of researchers will likely lead the way when it comes to changing the research landscape. Partnering with organizations with similar goals to reform research assessment is a step forward towards achieving DORA’s objectives. Institutions are also encouraged to reach out to DORA and revise the research assessment policies they have institutionalized. Finally, gathering a diverse group of stakeholders at multiple conferences and workshops that aim to change the current model of research is an important step (DORA, 2022).
After the idea for DORA was showcased in 2012, it was later published in 2013. Since then, many organizations and institutions have been signing on to DORA’s goals. Specifically, DORA became an international initiative in early 2018, and the badges for DORA signatories were released later that summer. Things picked up for DORA after a 2019 meeting with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2020, DORA released a lot of resources for people committed to DORA’s objectives, such as unintended cognitive and system biases and the changing role of funders. Ever since then, DORA has been holding workshops and conferences and has released a number of useful resources (DORA, 2022).
On July 8, 2022, IGI Global signed the declaration and cemented the institution’s vision for more modern research methods and assessments. “IGI Global has always been a strong advocate for assessing research on its own merit rather than the merit of the journal in which the research is published, the author's affiliation or country of origin, or any other external factors. It is crucial to prioritize the quality and merit and remove any biases that could prevent important research from being disseminated,” the newsroom release read (IGI Global, 2022).
Learn more about IGI Global’s involvement with DORA here.
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