DORA declaration

The SNSF has signed the DORA declaration and is now implementing it step by step.

How do you perform a fair assessment of scientific achievements? For a long time, the most important criterion was: have the researchers published articles in frequently cited journals? But the citation rate of a journal – or journal impact factor – does not allow an accurate and fair estimation of individual achievements. This is why the DORA declaration (San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment) recommends a more comprehensive approach.

The declaration was published in 2012 by the American cell biology society in collaboration with journalists and publishing houses. By August 2020, approximately 2000 scientific organisations and 16,000 researchers had signed the DORA declaration.

Changes in career funding

In August 2020, the SNSF adopted the DORA recommendations by its Compliance Committee for the SNSF career funding schemes as well as some other criteria. It will no longer consider the impact factors of scientific journals at any stage of the evaluation. From now on, the SNSF will give more weight to the quality of the research output as a whole. This includes publications as well as other areas such as cooperation with stakeholder groups, science outreach, datasets, software, patents, conference papers and prizes. In addition, the evaluators can rely on quantitative data related to individuals. This change will make the selection process even fairer and more inclusive for people with diverse career paths.  

News "Career funding: the overall performance counts"

Pilot project on scientific CV

Since spring 2020, the SNSF has been testing a new scientific CV. The pilot project is being conducted for project funding applications in biology and medicine. Researchers briefly describe their most important achievements in a standardised new format, called SciCV, instead of only listing publications. This makes it easier to recognise and appreciate the diversity of the research output. It also facilitates comparisons between applicants and makes ratings more transparent. Based on the results of the pilot project, the SNSF will analyse to what degree this format can be implemented and whether it is transferable to other schemes.

News "SciCV – SNSF tests new CV format in biology and medicine"

Courses for evaluation bodies

The members of evaluation bodies are of key importance regarding implementation of the DORA recommendations. They will therefore receive special training from the SNSF, for instance in workshops with international experts.

Further topics

The SNSF is looking into a number of further topics relating to implementation of the DORA recommendations:

  • It is defining the concept of scientific excellence in the context of its evaluation of research proposals.
  • In the selection process, it aims to separate the scientific evaluation from the funding decisions.
  • How should applications that fall into the same quality category be treated? The SNSF intends to adapt evaluation processes to account for such cases.
  • More weight will be given to the broader impact of projects involving use-inspired basic research.

Contact

Inés de la Cuadra
E-mail dora@snf.ch