University of Bristol and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The University of Bristol is a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

DORA is a set of recommendations designed to ensure that "the quality and impact of scientific outputs…is measured accurately and evaluated wisely.”

The University is committed to the critical role that peer review and expert judgement plays in the assessment of research, but also recognises the value that quantitative metrics can play in complementing and supporting decision-making.

DORA’s key tenet is to “not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors (JIFs), as surrogate measures of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions”. It includes a series of recommendations for funding agencies, institutions, publishers, organisations that supply metrics and for researchers.

Recommendations for research institutions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Recommendations for researchers

  1. When involved in committees making decisions about funding, hiring, tenure, or promotion, make assessments based on scientific content rather than publication metrics
  2. Wherever appropriate, cite primary literature in which observations are first reported rather than reviews in order to give credit where credit is due
  3. 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
  4. 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

A number of recent reports have emphasised that a commitment to DORA is a way for the sector to address the inappropriate use of journal-based metrics, including The Metric Tide 2015 report on the use of metrics in research assessment.

DORA recommendations are embedded within our Institutional Statement on Responsible Research Evaluation.

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