The FNR signs the DORA declaration

As of December 2018, the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) has signed the DORA declaration, which consists of a set of recommendations to improve the assessment of scientific output. As a signatory of DORA, the FNR fully supports the declaration’s practices in research assessment, and has updated its own peer review guidelines accordingly.

The DORA declaration (San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment) was published in 2012 by the American cell biology society in collaboration with editors and publishing houses. By December 2018, approximately 740 scientific organisations and 13.200 researchers had signed the DORA declaration.

The declaration recommends that evaluators refrain from using journal-based metrics as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research. It specifically asks them to:

  • Be explicit about the criteria used in evaluating the scientific productivity of grant applications;
  • Clearly state, especially for early-stage investigators, that the scientific content of a paper is much more important than publication metrics or the name of the journal in which it was published;
  • Consider the values and impacts from all research outputs in addition to research publications;
  • Consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.

FNR Secretary Marc Schiltz says: “The FNR has always implemented a qualitative assessment of research proposals, where a variety of research outputs are valued. The FNR Strategy and Action Plan 2018-21 explicitly promotes a comprehensive view on Excellence in Research, articulated through six dimensions that span the full range of research outcomes. I am happy that we are fully in line with the principles of the DORA declaration.”

How does the FNR implement the DORA principles?

The programme guidelines for our 2019 Calls have been updated to:

  • Explicitly discourage  applicants from using Journal Impact Factors in their publication list;
  • Accept preprints as valuable research outputs (in line with the recent policy update of the European Research Council);
  • Request that applicants indicate whether listed publications have been published Open Access or not;
  • Encourage applicants to list a range of research outputs (including datasets and software, training of researchers, intellectual property).

The FNR’s Peer Review Guidelines for our 2019 Calls have been updated to instruct reviewers to:

  • Evaluate quality and impact independently of journal-based metrics;
  • Value the full range of research outputs (including datasets and software, training of researchers; intellectual property).

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