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Ulster University has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

This means that the University is committed to the principles of fair, responsible and open use of metrics in the assessment of research activity and performance.

Signatory of DORA

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) recognises the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated by funding agencies, academic institutions and other parties. The declaration is a worldwide initiative covering all scholarly disciplines and all key stakeholders.

DORA sets out a series of recommendations for funders, institutions, researchers, publishers and organisations, the key themes of these recommendations are:

  • minimising the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations;
  • assessing research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published; and
  • capitalising on the opportunities provided by online publication (such as relaxing unnecessary limits on the number of words, figures, and references in articles, and exploring new indicators of significance and impact).

The Declaration recommends:

For institutions

  • Be explicit about the criteria used to reach hiring and promotion decisions, clearly highlighting, especially for early-stage investigators, that the scientific content of a paper is much more important than bibliometrics or the identity of the journal in which it was published.
  • 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.

For researchers

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

The University also supports the corresponding principles contained in the Leiden Manifesto and The Metric Tide’s reports.