Stories of innovation and change in academic career assessment
“You feel better, more fair, inclusive and transparent with more relevant assessment. It brings you back to society and out of your ivory tower.”
This month, SPARC Europe, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and the European University Association (EUA) hosted a webinar that brought together innovators in academic career assessment. The webinar closed a project between the three organisations that brought together the experts of ten diverse case studies from research institutions and national initiatives. The related report compares and contrasts the cases looking at the main findings such as motivations for change, cultural contexts, processes and dynamics for managing change was published in January 2021.
The webinar saw 233 participants from a wide range of countries, including Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the UK, Ukraine and the USA. SPARC Europe opened the event putting reform in academic career assessment in the context of Open Science and new funder rewards and incentives that are moving away from quantitative metrics. We then highlighted the institutional drivers for reforming research assessment in institutions of Higher Education.
Experts who have been driving change in this area from Belgium, China, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain then shared how reform took hold in their countries and institutions. Discussions focussed around, for example, the challenges and opportunities of being first movers, the importance of consistently communicating on the higher purpose to drive change, how essential it is to engage with a wide range of stakeholders early on (connecting top-down with bottom-up), and that reform means delving deeper into understanding the goals, processes and outputs of diverse research areas to come to a research assessment system that rewards researchers appropriately since no one size fits all.