Reforming research assessment

On 8 July, a final Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment was presented at a stakeholder assembly of over 350 organisations from 40 countries. The Agreement sets a shared direction for changes in assessment practices for research, researchers and research performing organisations. In an editorial on 27 July, the journal Nature praised the “bold vision” of the Agreement and its approach to ensuring engagement and compliance by those who sign it.

Nature also credited the contributions of RoRI, DORA and many others in advancing agendas of responsible research assessment over recent years. Referencing our November 2020 paper on the changing role of funders in this area, Nature notes: “As the authors of the RoRI report say, the time for declarations is over. Research assessment must now start to change, to measure what matters.” 

Meanwhile, in the UK system, members of the RoRI team are contributing to analysis of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and options for its future reform. This work includes The Metric Tide Revisited, a fresh look at the role of research metrics in assessment, which James Wilsdon, RoRI’s director, is co-chairing with Stephen Curry and Elizabeth Gadd. Writing in Times Higher Education, James calls for the next REF to clarify its purpose and language and support progressive change in research cultures. Read his article, What the FRAP happens next? Four priorities for reforming the REF.