OPERAS signs Agreement for Reforming Research Assessment and provides services for researchers

OPERAS has signed the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, an initiative that gathers more than 180 signatories, including public and private research funders, universities, research centres, institutes and infrastructures, associations (and alliances thereof), national and regional authorities, accreditation and evaluation agencies, learned societies and associations of researchers, and other relevant organisations, representing a broad diversity of views and perspectives. Many OPERAS members have already signed the document. 

The agreement aims to recognise the diverse outputs, practices and activities that maximise the quality and impact of research for the research, researchers and research organisations assessment. The document sets a shared direction for changes in the research assessment practices, including principles, commitments and timeframe for reforms. The new vision for the research assessment requires that it will be based primarily on a qualitative judgement, for which peer review is central, and supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators. 

As the Research Infrastructure dedicated to supporting the whole research lifecycle of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in Europe, OPERAS is taking part in CoARA and invites all its members to sign the agreement. OPERAS supports CoARA’s vision of innovative and open research assessment practices, which can be adapted to the diversity of scientific disciplines. 

OPERAS commitment in signing includes the provision of services that can enable the full range of practices in the SSH field, where there is still a lack of tools and indicators. Some examples would be

  • quality assurance services such as the PRISM (Peer Review Information Service for Monographs) to increase trust in Open Access book publishing by improving transparency around the quality assurance process (peer review procedure);
  • the Metrics Service Portal, which collects usage and impact metrics related to published Open Access content from many different sources and allows for their access, display and analysis from a single access point;
  • the GoTriple platform, a multilingual and multicultural discovery service, that provides better findability of research results;
  • the Pathfinder service to support academic open access publishing.

The issue of reforming research assessment will be also included among the topics of the relevant OPERAS Special Interest Groups (Advocacy and Standards). 

The agreement’s initiative followed a call of interest by the European Commission, in January 2022, to be drafted in a co-creation exercise. Since July 2022, the document was publicly presented (read it via this link). The Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) is now being created and has an interim secretariat provided by Science Europe, the European University Association (EUA) and the European Commission

Commitment of existing and new members 

By advocating for a change in the research assessment and supporting CoARA, OPERAS is including the commitment to recognise all research outputs and to experiment new indicators and tools in its new members’ application form. The infrastructure encourages existing members to sign the Agreement and to be active parts of the Coalition as research performing organisations. 

The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment is based on 10 Commitments, which include topics such as the recognition of the diversity of contributions of research according to its needs and nature; the basing of research assessment primarily on qualitative evaluation; the purpose to abandon inappropriate uses of journal and publication-based metrics; the avoidance of ranking usage for research organisations; the commitment of resources in organisations to the reform of the research assessment; the reviewing and development of criteria, tools, and processes; the raising of awareness on the reform; the communication on progress made on the implementation of the Commitments; and the evaluation of practices, criteria and tools based on state-of-the-art research. The list of Commitments, their scopes and purposes are available in this link

As stated by CoARA’s announcement on the Agreement, the reform movement underpinned by both the document and the coalition intends to be a space to advance together towards a higher quality, more impactful and more efficient, inclusive system. 

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Read the Agreement full-text here.

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