The uses and evaluation of researchers’ narrative CVs


This project builds on work by DORA, including this 2021 workshop report.

The use of narrative CVs is growing rapidly across research systems, as part of a wider shift towards responsible research assessment. Narrative CVs are meant to complement traditional CV formats, allowing researchers to offer textual accounts of their accomplishments and professional trajectories. 

This is intended to discourage overreliance on purely quantitative comparison and reductive shortcuts in peer review for funding, hiring, promotions and other evaluative decisions. Ideally, narrative CVs can help to diversify criteria of success and achievement, thereby diversifying the research workforce and creating more openness towards different career trajectories.

At the same time, little is known about how such novel formats will affect evaluative practices and what practical challenges may arise from wider uptake and implementation. This project is designed to provide research funders and policymakers with evidence and analytical insights to facilitate the design and use of narrative CV formats.   

Building on earlier scoping by DORA, the partners involved in the NARRATIVES project have aligned in identifying three modules of greatest interest to the group. 

  • The first module will develop an inventory of challenges related to the implementation of narrative CVs across different funding organisations, and strategies to tackle them. For this purpose, we will synthesise information that has already been collected by participating organisations as well as create additional evidence through focus groups and interviews. 
  • The second module will focus on learning effects among reviewers handling narrative CVs over consecutive funding rounds. The aim here is to study conditions that facilitate making optimal use of the affordances of narrative CVs. We will collect empirical material through participant observation in review panels, through interviews, as well as through surveys with reviewers.
  • The third module will investigate the effects of narrative CVs on the diversity of funding recipients. To do this we will conduct an experiment to compare the effects of using a narrative CV rather than a regular CV. This will be done by splitting a cohort of applicants by CV type, and comparing outcomes.
UKRI has developed a ‘Résumé Resources Library’ to support researchers with their narrative CVs

Project team

Partners and steering group

The NARRATIVES project steering group is chaired by Michaela Strinzel (Swiss National Science Foundation).

Project partners include: 

  • DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment)
  • Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR)
  • Health Research BC 
  • NWO – Dutch Research Council
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Volkswagen Foundation 
  • Wellcome Trust

Research Team

Timeline and outputs

The NARRATIVES project will run for two years, to mid-2025. Its outputs will include: 

  • An inventory of barriers and facilitators to the implementation of narrative CVs in a funder context (Module 1);
  • A working paper and subsequent article on the qualitative data analysis and evidence synthesis (Module 1);
  • A working paper and subsequent article on the findings of the qualitative data analysis and survey (Module 2);
  • A working paper and subsequent article on the results of the experimental study (Module 3).