The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) recognizes the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated, beyond the widely used journal impact factor. The declaration is comprised of a set of recommendations developed by a group of journal editors and publishers at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco in 2012.

Over 1,500 organizations and 15,000 individuals have signed DORA. This includes research funders, research institutions, publishers, metrics providers, and researchers. From the Government of Canada, five major research funding agencies have signed DORA, including: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Genome Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

DORA aims to advance practical and robust approaches to research assessment globally and across all scholarly disciplines. It draws attention to the problem of the overreliance on journal-based metrics in hiring, promotion, and funding decisions, and encourages a community-driven change.

Considering other ways to accurately and more meaningfully assess research quality, including assessing different types of research outputs, allows researchers’ work to be assessed on its own merits. As a signatory to DORA, CIHR is committed to excellence in research funding and to ensuring that a wide range of research results and outcomes are valued as part of the review process.

A number of the CIHR’s initiatives already support research excellence and align with the recommendations in DORA, such as policies that facilitate excellence in research data management practices, open access publishing, the ethical conduct of research; and the commitment to re-examine research excellence through the Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan.

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