Webinar Report: Shaping the future of research assessment

Watch back as our speakers discuss the importance of meaningful research assessment and opportunities for early-career researchers to drive this change.

'What makes a successful scientist?' Or should we not be asking 'What should be assessed and valued in terms of judging whether a scientist is ‘successful’?'

On June 7, 2022, an eLife Ambassadors workshop was hosted by eLife, alongside DORA, Wellcome, and the Young SiTs to introduce eLife Community Ambassadors and Open Science Champions to responsible research assessment and the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

The aim of this workshop was to enable early-career researchers (ECRs) to reassess global research assessment, as well as enable each Ambassador to think about their commitment to implementing DORA. Attendees considered what should be valued when assessing researchers, and the extent to which this aligns with current practice. Alongside speakers from DORA and Wellcome, ECRs from all across the world discussed the actions funders, journals and other actors are taking to drive change and the challenges that remain. The workshop facilitated Ambassadors to consider what is meaningful research assessment within their research community and its importance in improving research. We ended the workshop with a talk from a member of the Young SiTs on how they have begun reshaping researcher evaluation and identifying opportunities for ECRs to engage and help shape the future of assessment.

This workshop consisted of four speaker presentations, breakout sessions and a Q&A session. The breakout session questions were:

  • What is currently assessed and valued in terms of judging whether a scientist is ‘successful’?
  • What should be assessed and valued in terms of judging whether a scientist is ‘successful’?
  • How can early-career researchers drive change in research assessment?

Haley Hazlett, Ph.D – Program Manager, DORA: opened the workshop with an introduction to DORA and responsible research assessment. She outlined how it is being implemented and its impact from a declaration developed in 2012 to an international initiative, enabling attendees to understand the demand and influence of meaningful assessment on research.

Hannah Hope, Ph.D – Open Research Lead, Wellcome: presented on Wellcome’s commitment to implementing DORA as a funder, describing the shift in research assessment practices to what Wellcome assesses in various stages of funding. Hannah informed our attendees of various insights into Wellcome’s aims to extend its track record beyond outputs to include assessments such as research design, research culture and leadership.

Stuart King, Ph.D – Research Culture Manager, eLife: discussed eLife’s mission to implement DORA as an open-access journal from the support of an array of metrics for publication outputs to preprints and open peer reviewing in research assessment. Stuart also informed attendees that these behaviours are being adopted and supported by a growing number of journals and organisations.

Annemijn Algra– Young Science in Transition team: spoke on behalf of Young Science in Transition which includes Inez Koopman, on how early-career researchers can reshape the evaluation of their work. Through their journey as ECRs and alongside the Young SiT think tank, Annemijn described how her team reassessed why ECRs are not being fairly evaluated for their work. They decided to create a new evaluation method for assessment with less focus on bibliometrics and more recognition for the range of work researchers do during their PhDs. This evaluation form is now being used in the Utrecht University Graduate School of Life Sciences and implemented in the assessment of approx.1800 PhD students. Read more about their work here: https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/how-young-researchers-can-re-shape-research-evaluation-universities

The webinar was followed by a Q&A and discussion, moderated by eLife Community Manager Ailís O’Carroll, where participants asked how they can work together to reshape research assessment in their research community.

Here is the list of actions you can take to get involved:

  • Sign DORA - https://sfdora.org/sign/
  • Download and display a DORA badge - https://sfdora.org/resources/
  • Join (or start) conversations about research assessment – at institutional and community level
  • Look to gain exposure to assessment processes in hiring, funding review etc. (ask to sit in 'chalk talks', or to meet candidates)
  • Challenge assumptions in discussions with peers, particularly when discussing publishing in high IF journals
  • Prioritise sharing a broader range of outputs – including datasets, code and protocols
  • Use ORCID to capture outputs and build your profile - http://orcid.org/


We welcome comments, questions and feedback. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.

Interested in our full selection of webinars on topics such as preprints, finding funding and more? Take a look at the collection of past reports and recordings.