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.