What is a good researcher? And what is a good research proposal? For some years, research assessment procedures have put too much emphasis on the number of publications in highly cited academic journals. Yet it is generally known that indicators such as the Journal Impact Factor and the H-index are not adequate indicators for measuring a researcher’s performance. DORA aims to reduce the uncritical use of bibliometric indicators, but more generally also to eliminate bias in the assessment of research and researchers.
The fundamental philosophy behind DORA is that research should be assessed on its own qualities and merits rather than on the basis of surrogate measures of quality, such as the journal in which the research is published.
How does NWO implement DORA?
NWO signed DORA in April 2019. Since then, NWO has been implementing DORA’s principles in its assessment procedures step by step. The following measures have been taken:
- Removal of all references to Journal Impact Factors and the H-index in all call texts and application forms
- Actively informing referees and committee members about having signed DORA and the consequences for assessment procedures
- Introduction of a narrative CV format
Narrative CV format
The narrative CV is based on the premise that there is no ideal type of researcher. Different research projects require varying talents. The narrative format allows applicants to highlight their own academic profile without being limited by prescribed questions and criteria. The narrative CV consists of two parts:
- The academic profile (narrative)
- Key outputs
The key outputs section focuses on the candidate’s past performance:
- A broad definition of ‘output’ is used. This includes not only scholarly articles but also other outputs, such as datasets, patents and software.
- The number of outputs has been maximized to 10 to stress that NWO values quality over quantity.
- Special attention is paid to Open Science by asking applicants to indicate which of their outputs are openly available.
The narrative CV has been introduced as a pilot in the Veni (part of NWO Talent Programme) and is gradually being adopted in other NWO funding instruments.