San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment — Well done, DORA

Anyone interested in research assessment should read this with care.


It’s been presented in the media as an insurrection against the use of the Journal Impact Factor — and the Declaration certainly does … ehr … declare that the JIF shouldn’t be used to assess individual researchers or individual research articles. But this soundbite shouldn’t be used to characterize the totality of DORA, which is much broader than that.

Honestly, it took me a few days to go read it. After all, it’s uncontroversial in my mind that the JIF shouldn’t be used in this way. So, an insurrection against it didn’t strike me as all that interesting. I’m all for the use of altmetrics and — obviously, given our recent Nature correspondence (free to read here) — other inventive ways to tell the story of our impact.

But, and I cannot stress this enough, everyone should give DORA a careful read. I’m against jumping uncritically on the bandwagon in favor of Openness in all its forms. But I could find little reason not to sign, and myriad reasons to do so.

Well done, DORA.

The Document: an Open Letter From San Jose State U.’s Philosophy Department – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Document: an Open Letter From San Jose State U.’s Philosophy Department – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Remarkably well argued for a group of philosophers. And they are correct, in my opinion, about the crux of the matter.

Everyone interested in the future of the university should read the letter.

A Net Skeptic’s Conservative Manifesto –

Steve Fuller sent me this review of Evgeny Morozov’s latest book:

A Net Skeptic’s Conservative Manifesto –

Of note was the comparison of Morozov with Oakeshott:

It remains unclear just how far Morozov would go to defeat “the cult of efficiency” that he says haunts us. Would he join Oakeshott in insisting that “the onus of proof, to show that the proposed change may be expected to be on the whole beneficial, rests with the would-be innovator”—in other words, applying the precautionary principle to technological change?  Morozov’s solutionism of “erratic appliances” and “technological troublemakers” would certainly constitute a preemptive, precautionary approach to digital regulation, should anyone attempt to apply them.

I haven’t read the book, yet. But this review makes me want to do so. Even if I don’t agree with Morozov’s conclusions — and I’m not saying I don’t or won’t — he seems to be asking some of the right questions.