This text was prepared by the French Open Science Committee and presented to the Paris Open Science European Conference (OSEC) held in Paris on 4th and 5th February 2022, organised by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, following the publication of the UNESCO recommendation on Open Science and the publication by the European Commission of Towards a reform of the research assessment system: scoping report .
In the conclusions of its meeting of December 1st 2020 on ‘the New European Research Area’, the Competitiveness Council of the European Union highlighted that Open Science has a crucial role in boosting impact, quality, efficiency, transparency and integrity of research and innovation, and brings science and society closer together. The Council emphasised that bibliodiversity and multilingualism and the acknowledgement of all scientific productions are relevant elements of an European Research Area policy on Open Science.
The current system for assessing research, researchers and research institutions, however, does not incentivise or reward enough the quality of all research outputs in their diversity. It often relies on the quantity of publications in journals with high Journal Impact Factor and citations as mere proxies for quality and impact, thereby underestimating the value of other contributions, lowering reproducibility and holding back researchers from open sharing and collaboration.
The Open Science European Conference (OSEC) 2022, organised by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union:
- Recognises that openness improves the quality, efficiency and impact of research, and fosters team science;
- Reaffirms the need to align what we assess with what we value;
- Calls for an assessment system where research proposals, researchers, research units and research institutions are evaluated on the basis of their intrinsic merits and impact, rather than on the number of publications and where they are published, promoting qualitative judgement provided by peers, supported by a responsible use of quantitative indicators;
- Calls therefore for a research assessment system that:
- rewards quality and the various impacts of research;
- ensures that research meets the highest standards of ethics and integrity
- values the diversity of research activities and outputs such as publications and preprints, data, methods, software, code and patents, as well as their societal impacts and activities related to training, innovation and public engagement;
- uses assessment criteria and processes that respect the variety of research disciplines;
- rewards not only research outputs, but also the appropriate conduct of research, and values good practices, in particular open practices for sharing research results and methodologies whenever possible ;
- values collaborative work, as well as cross-disciplinarity and citizen science, when appropriate;
- supports a diversity of researcher profiles and career paths.
- Calls for the creation of a coalition of research funding organisations, research performing organisations, and assessment authorities, willing and committed to reform the current research assessment system along commonly agreed objectives, principles and actions (such as mutual learning, shared documentation and commonly agreed monitoring effort). The success of such a coalition will be deeply connected to its capacity to propose concrete implementation processes and to its capacity to associate and involve researchers at all levels.