The European University Association and Science Europe Join Efforts to Improve Scholarly Research Assessment Methodologies

“Evaluating research and assessing researchers is fundamental to the research enterprise and core to the activities of research funders and research performing organisations, as well as universities. The European University Association (EUA) and Science Europe are committed to building a strong dialogue between their members, who share the responsibility of developing and implementing more accurate, open, transparent and responsible approaches, that better reflect the evolution of research activity in the digital era.

Today, the outcomes of scholarly research are often measured through methods based on quantitative, albeit approximate, indicators such as the journal impact factor. There is a need to move away from reductionist ways of assessing research, as well as to establish systems that better assess research potential. Universities, research funders and research performing organisations are well-placed to explore new and improved research assessment approaches, while also being indispensable in turning these innovations into systemic reforms….”

Wellcome updates open access policy to align with cOAlition S | Wellcome

“Following a large consultation, we have updated our open access (OA) policy so it now aligns with Plan S. The changes will apply from 1 January 2021. …

These are the key changes to our OA policy.  

 

  • All Wellcome-funded research articles must be made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC at the time of publication. We previously allowed a six-month embargo period. This change will make sure that the peer-reviewed version is freely available to everyone at the time of publication.
  • All articles must be published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC-BY), unless we have agreed, as an exception, to allow publication under a CC-BY-ND licence. We previously only required a CC-BY licence when an article processing charge (APC) was paid. This change will make sure that others – including commercial entities and AI/text-data mining services – can reuse our funded research to discover new knowledge.
  • Authors or their institutions must retain copyright for their research articles and hold the rights necessary to make a version of the article immediately available under a compliant open licence.
  • We will no longer cover the cost of OA publishing in subscription journals (‘hybrid OA’), outside of a transformative arrangement. We previously supported this model, but no longer believe that it supports a transition to full OA.  
  • Where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, such as a disease outbreak, these preprints must be published:
    • before peer review
    • on an approved platform that supports immediate publication of the complete manuscript
    • under a CC-BY licence.

    This is a new requirement which will make sure that important research findings are shared as soon possible and before peer review.

  • Wellcome-funded organisations must sign or publicly commit to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment(opens in a new tab) (DORA), or an equivalent. We may ask organisations to show that they’re complying with this as part of our organisation audits. This is a new requirement to encourage organisations to consider the intrinsic merit of the work when making promotion and tenure decisions, not just the title of the journal or publisher….”

How to avoid borrowed plumes in academia

Abstract:  Publications in top journals today have a powerful influence on academic careers although there is much criticism of using journal rankings to evaluate individual articles. We ask why this practice of performance evaluation is still so influential. We suggest this is the case because a majority of authors benefit from the present system due to the extreme skewness of citation distributions. “Performance paradox” effects aggravate the problem. Three extant suggestions for reforming performance management are critically discussed. We advance a new proposal based on the insight that fundamental uncertainty is symptomatic for scholarly work. It suggests focal randomization using a rationally founded and well-orchestrated procedure.

Altruism or Self-Interest? Exploring the Motivations of Open Access Authors | Heaton | College & Research Libraries

Abstract:  More than 250 authors at Utah State University published an Open Access (OA) article in 2016. Analysis of survey results and publication data from Scopus suggests that the following factors led authors to choose OA venues: ability to pay publishing charges, disciplinary colleagues’ positive attitudes toward OA, and personal feelings such as altruism and desire to reach a wide audience. Tenure status was not an apparent factor. This article adds to the body of literature on author motivations and can inform library outreach and marketing efforts, the creation of new publishing models, and the conversation about the larger scholarly publishing landscape.

Scholarly Communication Report: Final Draft

“FINDINGS
1. Researchers are embracing non-traditional modes of scholarly output. 
2. Researchers are interested in sharing their work more broadly and more meaningfully than they have in the past.
3. Researchers feel a tension between their desire to create and share broadly and the pressures of tenure and promotion.
4. Researchers view the library as a trusted authority with whom they
would like to partner in advocacy and new scholarly production….”

The European University Association and Science Europe Join Efforts to Improve Scholarly Research Assessment Methodologies

“EUA and Science Europe are committed to working together on building a strong dialogue between their members, with a view to:

• support necessary changes for a better balance between qualitative and quantitative research assessment approaches, aiming at evaluating the merits of scholarly research. Furthermore, novel criteria and methods need to be developed towards a fairer and more transparent assessment of research, researchers and research teams, conducive to selecting excellent proposals and researchers.governments and public authorities to guarantee scholars and students the rights that constitute academic freedom, including the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, thought, information and assembly as well as the rights to education and teaching;

• recognise the diversity of research outputs and other relevant academic activities and their value in a manner that is appropriate to each research field and that challenges the overreliance on journal-based metrics.universities, funding agencies, academies and other research organisations to ensure that all researchers, teachers and students are guaranteed academic freedom, by fostering a culture in which free expression and the open exchange of opinion are valued and by shielding the research and teaching community from sanctions for exercising academic freedom.

• consider a broad range of criteria to reward and incentivise research quality as the fundamental principle of scholarly research, and ascertain assessment processes and methods that accurately reflect the vast dimensions of research quality and credit all scientific contributions appropriately. EUA and Science Europe will launch activities to further engage their members in improving and strengthening their research assessment practices. Building on these actions, both associations commit to maintaining a continuous dialogue and explore opportunities for joint actions, with a view to promoting strong synergies between the rewards and incentives structures of research funders and research performing organisations, as well as universities….”

Short statement from the SG of AAU on Open Access to all HEIs on the continent | Association of African Universities

“Policies:

* In hiring, promotion, and tenure, the university will give due weight to all peer-reviewed publications, regardless of price or medium.

* faculty who publish articles must either (1) retain copyright and transfer only the right of first print and electronic publication, or (2) transfer copyright but retain the right of postprint archiving.

* Adopt policies encouraging or requiring faculty to fill the institutional archive with their research articles and preprints

* all theses and dissertations, upon acceptance, must be made openly accessible, for example, through the institutional repository or one of the multi-institutional OA archives for theses and dissertations.

* all conferences hosted at your university will provide open access to their presentations or proceedings, even if the conference also chooses to publish them in a priced journal or book. This is compatible with charging a registration fee for the conference.

* all journals hosted or published by your university will either be OA or take steps to be friendlier to OA. For example, see the list of what journals can do….”

The real issues ‘are being blurred’ | Research Information

“[Q] What do you see as the biggest challenges in scholarly publishing today?

[A] A mixture of cost, inaccessibility, and the academic reward mechanism which has grown up around particular modes of scholarly communication. Cost is being driven by two factors: the increasing amount of atomised research that researchers are publishing with subscription journals; and the continued above inflation price increases, particularly amongst some of the very largest publishers.

The challenge of inaccessibility is a very significant one. There is no one established model for open access, there’s still a lot of innovation going on and there are a number of models emerging. We haven’t yet found a mechanism for supporting the learned society journals in particular, who therefore become conflicted because on one hand they are benefiting from some of the monopolistic behaviours around copyright transfer, but on the other hand are using the funds that are generated as part of the publishing business to support their learned society activities. If you end up in a pay-to-publish open access world, that immediately disenfranchises the very people who can’t access the current content in the first place.

The academic reward mechanisms, whereby you have journal title as a proxy of quality, means publishing in high-impact journals is actively rewarded and encouraged and used as a short cut to determine career paths and promotion. There’s a perverse incentive to go after being published in certain places, rather than in making the outputs of publicly funded research available to a much broader community….”

‘Undue reliance’ on journal impact factor in academic evaluation | Times Higher Education (THE)

At least one in three research-intensive universities in North America examined by a study leaned on the journal impact factor of periodicals that academics had published in when making decisions on promotion and tenure, but the true proportion may be much higher.

The study, believed to be the first to examine the use of the journal impact factor in academic performance reviews, warns that there is an “undue reliance” on the controversial metric….

Among the documents from 57 research-intensive institutions considered by the study, 23 (40 per cent) referred to journal impact factors, with 19 of these mentions (83 per cent of the subtotal) being supportive. Only three of the mentions expressed caution about use of journal impact factors.

Of the documents that did refer to journal impact factors, 14 associated the metric with research quality, while eight tied it to impact and a further five referred to prestige or reputation.

The overall results, including large numbers of universities that offer few doctoral degrees, found that 23 per cent of review, promotion and tenure policies mentioned the journal impact factor, with 87 per cent of these mentions being supportive….”

Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2018 | Ithaka S+R

Faculty have displayed a notable increase in interest for an open access publication system since the last survey cycle. Approximately 64% of respondents in 2018 indicated they would be happy to see the traditional subscription-based publication model replaced entirely by an open access system compared to 57% in 2015.

Younger faculty are more interested than their older colleagues in replacing the traditional subscription-based system with an open access one (See Figure 32). This is perhaps surprising given that older faculty place more importance on the characteristics of open access when deciding in which journals to publish (see Figure 31). Older faculty are also more likely to understand the criteria used in tenure and promotion evaluations, and are less likely than younger faculty to shape their research outputs and publication choices to match the criteria for success in tenure and promotion (see Figure 32). This suggests that older faculty, who are often more established, published, and/or tenured, may make their publications and findings open because the traditional scholarly incentives are not as relevant for them….