The European University Association (EUA) is one of the leading actors in the transition to Open Science. It represents the independent voice of European universities, making sure the interests of the vibrant European research and innovation community are heard and considered.
The Association has made a unique contribution to the Open Science debate. By carrying out regular university surveys and commissioning studies it has built a shared knowledge base on: Open Access policies for research publications and data, the financial cost of access to scholarly publications (Big Deals), research assessment practices, innovative publishing practices (such as Read and Publish agreements) and other key Open Science issues.
This report presents the results of the 2019 EUA Open Science and Access Survey on Research Assessment. For the first time, it gathers and shares a comprehensive overview of research assessment approaches by European universities. Research assessment is a powerful tool for making the transition to Open Science a reality. Making evaluation practices more accurate, transparent and responsible will allow universities to establish best practice and work together for our academic community.
A concerted approach uniting the main actors will be necessary to move forward. EUA will continue to engage its membership in this process and maintain a close relationship with its partners. The latter notably include the newly proposed European Commission, with Commissioner-designate Mariya Gabriel taking on the integrated education, research and innovation portfolio, and the newly elected European Parliament.
As EUA Vice-President and Chair of the EUA Research Policy Working Group I look forward to working together with my colleagues on these issues. Building on the work that has already been done, including the results presented in this report, I am confident that EUA will remain at the forefront of the transition to Open Science.
Professor Paul Boyle
EUA Vice-President and Chair of the EUA Research Policy Working Group
Open Science is a paradigm shift. Open publication, open access, open citations, open data, open source software, citizen science – in the same cooperative spirit, all these innovations revolutionize research by rejecting competition, even though many researchers still consider this inevitable. This new science approach seems likely to develop further and, in the long run, to become the norm.
However, no matter how hard advocates strive, Open Science will never be achieved unless accompanied by a change in the way researchers are evaluated. Without this, no researcher, (and especially no early-stage researcher,) will take the proven risk of departing from the old principles that continue to paralyse scientific communications: publish as often as possible, in journals with the best possible reputation.
Given these considerations, it was interesting to verify current European university practices. In particular, and among many other questions, we wanted to know whether evaluators still favour quantified approaches (such as the journal impact factor and its derivatives) or if they are developing a more qualitative approach in which the amount of scholarly production and publisher are no longer the only criteria used to determine the quality, or even of excellence, of a researcher’s work.
To improve understanding of the current situation of research assessment practices at European universities, both in terms of researcher careers and research project evaluations, the EUA Expert Group Science 2.0/Open Science decided to investigate further. In May 2019, it took the initial step of organising a workshop on research assessment for researcher recruitment and career progression. Then it focused the annual EUA Open Access Survey on research assessment at universities.
This survey reveals the beginning of a change, but it also indicates that there is still a long way to go before the principles that have become dogmas make room for at least partial consideration of the values of exchange, sharing and cooperation advocated by Open Science.
We hope that it will be useful in helping institutions review evaluation criteria and in supporting researchers when it comes to demonstrating the need to reconsider their publication practices.
We would like to warmly thank the EUA Secretariat staff involved in this investigation, Dr Rita Morais, Dr Bregt Saenen and Dr Vinciane Gaillard, and to extend a special mention to Dr Lidia Borell-Damián, former EUA Director of Research & Innovation, who has done a remarkable job of making EUA’s positions and actions clear and visible in order to achieve more fair, transparent and open research activity at European universities.
Professor Jean-Pierre Finance
Chair of the EUA Expert Group Science 2.0/Open Science
Professor Bernard Rentier
Chair of the EUA Expert Subgroup on Research Assessment
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