Potential for improvement in the evaluation of scientific work
Tampere University is the first Finnish university to sign the international DORA Declaration (San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment). The institutions and individuals signing the Declaration commit to improving the evaluation of scientific outputs by making their assessment more transparent, equal, and versatile.
By signing the declaration, universities commit to open and clear definitions in the planning of recruitment criteria. In addition, the contents of publications receive more attention than publication metrics, and the impact of scientific studies is taken into account better than before.
“Individuals may also sign the Declaration and many Tampere University employees have already done so,” says Provost Jarmo Takala.
Funders, organisations recruiting researchers and researchers themselves want to and need to assess the quality and impact of scientific publications. The reliable and open evaluation of scientific merits is important for instance in the recruitment of new employees.
“We are now creating the recruitment practices of Tampere University and the work will be based on the Dora Declaration,” Takala says.
The Declaration lists eighteen recommendations for different actors. The recommendations for higher education institutions emphasise the openness and clarity of evaluation criteria. They also highlight taking into account the value and impact of research outputs and using versatile impact assessment measures, including qualitative indicators.
The Declaration also raises the problems associated with the use of journal impact factors, which were initially developed as a tool for when libraries make decisions on journal subscriptions. However, impact factors are currently often used as one of the indicators with which the scientific merits of researchers and universities are assessed.