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Queen’s signs the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

Queen’s University has become a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

DORA Signing

DORA is a worldwide initiative aimed at improving the ways in which outputs of scholarly research are evaluated. It seeks to gain commitment among funding agencies, higher education institutions and journal organisations to promote and adopt the responsible use of metrics when measuring the evaluating research.

The declaration aims to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations. There is, instead, an encouragement to assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which it is published.

Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University said: “Signing DORA and establishing complementary institutional principles on the use of research metrics, reaffirms the University’s commitment to the responsible use of quantitative indicators and promoting an open research culture at Queen’s. At Queen’s, we apply fair and transparent mechanisms for monitoring and reporting research performance and I am delighted to support the DORA initiative.”

Queen’s has developed and established a series of institutional principles on the use of research metrics. These principals will ensure that our approach to the use of research metrics is aligned fully to the Declaration.

Principles on the Use of Research Metrics at Queen’s:

  • Quantitative evaluation should support qualitative, expert assessment
  • A combination of indicators should be used
  • Research evaluation should have clear and strategic objectives
  • Differences between research disciplines should be acknowledged
  • Data sources should be robust, accurate and open for verification
  • Research indicators and data sources should be regularly reviewed and updated
  • A rounded and comprehensive assessment of research should be used

Professor Emma Flynn, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Queen’s University added: “This provides a clear signal that the University is committed to the responsible use of metrics. While quantitative metrics can provide valuable insights, they can only complement and support the critical role that peer review and expert judgement play in the assessment of research.”

In April 2019, the University Executive Board approved signing the declaration, which has been supported by the University and College Union (UCU) at Queen’s.

Dr Merav Amir, UCU President at Queen’s University commented: “As the suite of research performance metrics available to universities has grown in recent years, we welcome that the University has signed DORA and established institutional principles on the use of research metrics. These principles adopt a balanced and transparent approach and, in particular, acknowledge that any evaluation of research performance (at the institutional or individual level) should include a rounded and wide-ranging a picture as possible by capturing expertise, experience, outputs, activities, impact and influence.”

The recommendations included in DORA are also complemented by other initiatives such as the Leiden Manifesto (2015) and the establishment of the Forum for Responsible Research Metrics in the UK. Both of these initiatives advocate for a qualitative expert assessment and greater transparency in the use of metrics.

DORA has been signed by over 1,500 organisations to date, including UK universities, Cancer Research UKWellcome Trust and UK Research Councils.

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Media inquiries to Zara McBrearty at Queen's Communications Office on Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3259 or email