Le rapport examine la place de la science ouverte dans les approches des universités européennes en matière d'évaluation académique (prise en compte et manière de reconnaitre les pratiques de SO, raisons de l'absence de reconnaissance, perspectives d'évolution). Les résultats sont basés sur 272 réponses provenant d'universités de 36 pays européens.

Open Science in university approaches to academic assessment

Follow-up to the 2020-21 EUA Open Science survey

Bregt Saenen, Rita Morais, Stephane Berghmans and Vinciane Gaillard

December 2021


This report looks at the place of Open Science in European university approaches to academic assessment. Do these institutions consider the openness of the research process and its outputs in their research evaluations? If so, how and to what extent are open research practices acknowledged? If not, why not? And do European universities plan to look at open research practices as part of their future academic assessments?

These questions are important for the future of research and innovation in Europe. They go to the heart of what academia should value, look at whether the right tools and conditions are in place to make this possible and examine whether the right incentives and rewards are available.[1]Making Open Science meaningful, possible and rewarding was first defined as the way to transform academic assessment in Making FAIReR assessments possible. Final report of EOSC Co-Creation projects: “European overview of career merit systems’’ and “Vision for research data in research careers”(2021). In recent years, incentives have dominated discussions in the university community as this approach was seen as the way to reshape academic culture (cf. OSPP Final report, 2020). Career incentives and rewards have become popular drivers of the transition to Open Science. Research funding organisations have become deeply involved in this discussion, while European and national policy makers launched potentially farreaching initiatives. [2]At European level, research assessment is a European Research Area renewal priority (see Communication on “A new ERA for Research and Innovation” (2020) and Council Conclusions on the new European Research Area (2020). Coordinated efforts between national stakeholders have also emerged in several European countries, such as Norway (cf. NOR-CAM. A toolbox for recognition and rewards in academic careers, 2021), Finland (cf. Good practice in researcher evaluation. Recommendation for the responsible evaluation of a researcher in Finland, 2020) and the Netherlands (cf. Room for everyone’s talent: towards a new balance in the recognition and rewards of academics, 2019).

This follow-up to the 2020-2021 EUA Open Science Survey discusses the state of play and potential ways forward for responsible academic assessment from a European university perspective. EUA Open Science surveys began in 2014 and have gathered comprehensive and up-to-date insights into Open Access to research publications and data, research assessment and other aspects of the transition to Open Science on a regular basis (cf. EUA Open Science Survey 2017-2018, 2019). The 2020-21 results were based on 272 valid responses from universities in 36 European countries.

In order to provide a more in-depth discussion, this report also draws on EUA’s work on research and academic assessment. Subsequent to the priority actions laid out in the EUA Roadmap on Research Assessment in the Transition to Open Science, the EUA Secretariat, EUA Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science [3]A list of members of the EUA Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science, chaired by Professor Jean- Pierre Finance (University of Lorraine, France), is available online. Any member of this group can volunteer for the EUA Expert Subgroup on Research Assessment, chaired by Dr Pastora Martínez Samper (Open University of Catalonia, Spain). and the EUA Expert Subgroup on Research Assessment, have gathered and shared information to start and sustain dialogue between universities and with other actors, and developed policy and good practice recommendations.

Our research shows that Open Science is currently given limited consideration in university approaches to academic assessment. However, this report also shows that the importance of Open Science as a strategic priority is increasing, suggesting that its limited role in academic assessment is an issue of practical implementation. Finally, the report points to growing university awareness of the issue and willingness to make changes.

This report understands Open Science as the “…various movements and practices aiming to make multilingual scientific knowledge openly available, accessible and reusable for everyone, to increase scientific collaborations and sharing of information for the benefits of science and society, and to open the processes of scientific knowledge creation, evaluation and communication to societal actors beyond the traditional scientific community” (UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, 2021, p.7).

In short, Open Science goes beyond Open Access to the outputs of research and more broadly aims to make all stages of the research process open and transparent. This transition has the potential to enhance the quality and impact of research, and to improve European solidarity by making the research process more inclusive and its outputs more widely available. [4]Note that deliberate action is needed to achieve this “potential” to improve European solidarity, as the transition to Open Science will not automatically lead to a more inclusive academic system. This is explored, in terms of both academic research and policy-oriented organisations, in Dynamics of Cumulative Advantage and Threats to Equity in Open Science. A Scoping Review (2021) and Equity in Open Access. ALLEA statement on the occasion of the 2021 International Open Access Week (2021).

Academic assessment refers to the qualitative and quantitative practices used to evaluate the quality and impact of academic activities. Assessment outcomes are typically used to make decisions related to career progression (our focus in this report) and funding allocation. This report deliberately uses the term academic (rather than research) assessment. This is to enhance the parity of the statuses given to different academic activities, including research (which is the focus of this report), teaching, innovation and service to society (cf. Innovation ecosystems for a sustainable Europe: How to enhance the contribution of universities, 2021).

This publication is part of a series of three follow-up reports to the main EUA 2020-2021 Open Science Survey report. The other reports take a closer look at the topics of Open Access to research publications and research data.




Table of Contents



Limited consideration

Strategic priority

Growing awareness and willingness to make changes


List of figures