UM signs DORA

Rector Magnificus Rianne Letschert signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) today, marking Maastricht University’s (UM) official endorsement of a new approach to assessing academics. At present, researchers are primarily judged on the number of articles they publish in top-tier journals and the amount of research funding they acquire. The aim is to take a broader view, including social impact, teaching, leadership qualities and more. Letschert is a strong advocate of this development and a key contributor to the national project Recognising and Rewarding Academics.

DORA was drawn up in 2012 by editors and publishers of academic journals in response to the growing need for new ways of assessing scientific output. To date, funding agencies, universities and other academic bodies have been inclined to measure the quality of a researcher based on their ‘impact factor’, derived from the number of top publications. The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) signed the declaration in 2014. UM’s signing of DORA is intended as a public statement in support of the recent developments, and is in line with the Open Science policy memo recently approved by the Executive Board.

Objectives of Recognising and Rewarding Academics

The national project Recognising and Rewarding Academics, in which the four main national academic agencies (VSNU, NWO, NFU and ZonMw) are collaborating, draws attention to:

  • differentiation of career pathways in academia, with four specialisations: research, teaching, knowledge transfer and/or leadership
  • improving methods of assessing the quality and impact of research (including the promotion of Open Science)
  • rewarding ‘team science’, i.e. providing due acknowledgement of collaborative efforts within teams and their accomplishments as teams.

An international conference on new ways of assessing and rewarding academics will be held in Rotterdam on 15 November, organised by the VSNU and the European University Association (EAU).

Rianne Letschert on open access and the new approach to recognising and rewarding academics

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