Statement on fair assessment of research

The University of Kent has affirmed its commitment to the fair assessment of research through the signing of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and adopting the principles outlined in the Leiden Manifesto.

Professor Philippe De Wilde, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation, says “I am happy to endorse the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, and I have signed up to it on behalf of the University. We have never used journal-based metrics for performance evaluation, and have no intention of doing so. I hope that in future the publication landscape will become more fluid. University repositories, preprint servers, professional societies, start-up publishers and established publishers all have a role to play in disseminating research. With modern IT, there is no reason for a hierarchy between those players. Let us recognize the limits of metrics as well as those of peer review.”

With the adoption of these principles, as an institution, we commit (as stated here) to:

  • Be explicit about the criteria used to reach hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions, clearly highlighting, especially for early-stage investigators, that the scientific content of a paper is much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it was published.
  • For the purposes of research assessment, consider the value and impact of all
    research outputs (including datasets and software) in addition to research publications, and consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.

The implementation of these principles at Kent is supported through the Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC). We recognise that the adoption of these principles is a statement of intent and that there will be a gradual aligning of the policy and embedding the practice at Kent. As issues are highlighted and areas in contradiction with these principles come to light, we will review the policies in light of the principles, ensuring Kent has a robust and fair approach to the use of metrics for research evaluation.

The OSC is providing a route for researchers and professional service staff to report policies, procedures and behaviours that they felt were out of line with the principles included in the DORA and the Leiden manifesto. If you have any such concerns, questions or requests for training then please get in touch so that we can prioritise these requests.

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