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FAQ

This page will be updated periodically. The information on this page was last updated on 03 November 2022.

Signing the Agreement is an opportunity to signal publicly the willingness of your organisation to reform research assessment along the agreed Principles, and to implement the agreed Commitments according to the agreed timeframe. Signing the Agreement is also a precondition for joining the Coalition.

  1. Joining the Coalition will bring support to the reform of research assessment. It will offer members the possibility to exchange knowledge, work together, test and pilot, and be supported by peers, for advancing in the process of research assessment reform. Collaboration will allow identifying, exchanging, or delivering, for example:
  • Information on changes piloted and implemented by the members within the Coalition, and also beyond;
  • Good practices, established or emerging from changes piloted, but also challenging experiences encountered and lessons learned;
  • Recommendations and guidelines that can be considered by all or part of the Coalition members and beyond;
  • Joint experimentations and initiatives;
  • Information on the impacts – benefits and costs – of the changes implemented for further evidence-informed changes.

Coalition members will have the possibility to initiate and benefit from communities of practice on subjects of their choice. Examples of potential topics are:

  • Peer review and qualitative evaluation;
  • Narrative CVs;
  • Responsible use of metrics;
  • Use of metrics in the assessment of institutions by national evaluation agencies;
  • Assessment of research projects by research funders;
  • Tailoring criteria and processes by discipline, inter-disciplinary field or thematic area;
  • The balance between research and other academic activities;
  • Conflicts of interest and biases.
  1. The Coalition will help members that are less advanced in the reform of research assessment, or that are at an early stage in this process, to identify and learn from successful ideas and practices from organisations that are further advanced in their reforms. At the same time, members that are more advanced assessment practices in relation to the goals set out in the Agreement will find a platform to share their expertise, support the development of a coherent assessment ecosystem and keep evolving their evaluation methods.
  2. The Coalition will offer a space for the organisations from a given country responsible for reforming policies and regulations, to work together and advance on the topic. At the same time, it will offer access to experiences from other countries in Europe and beyond.
  3. The Coalition will allow building a critical mass of stakeholders to interact also with national and regional authorities, including with the ERA Forum, to tackle any legal or administrative barriers that limit the implementation of changes to research assessment by research organisations.
  4. The work of the Coalition will seek to avoid potential contradictions between different research assessment practices and frameworks, for the benefit of the broader research and academic community, especially young researchers.

At the moment, signatories of the Agreement and members of the Coalition are expected to be organisations from across the world that are (in accordance with the current draft Governance document of the Coalition):

  • Universities, and their associations;
  • Research centres, research infrastructures, and their associations;
  • Academies, learned societies, and their associations, and associations of researchers;
  • Public or private research funding organisations and their associations;
  • National/regional authorities or agencies that implement some form of research assessment and their associations; and
  • Other relevant non-for-profit organisations involved with research assessment, and their associations.

Organisations without legal personality will also be able sign the Agreement and join the Coalition.

The Agreement and the Coalition are not open for individual persons. However, mechanisms for the involvement of individuals and especially of researchers will be planned by the Coalition.

No. Interested organisations from across the world can sign the Agreement. In accordance with the current draft Governance document of the Coalition, they can join the Coalition, provided they are:

  • Universities, and their associations;
  • Research centres, research infrastructures, and their associations;
  • Academies, learned societies, and their associations, and associations of researchers;
  • Public or private research funding organisations and their associations;
  • National/regional authorities or agencies that implement some form of research assessment and their associations; and
  • Other relevant non-for-profit organisations involved with research assessment, and their associations.

The collection of signatures to the Agreement was already launched. You can fill in the form available on this website on this page.

Organisations can sign the Agreement and join the Coalition at any time, but note that only those organisations having signed the Agreement by mid-November (tentative) will be invited to participate in the Constitutive Assembly of the Coalition of signatories, expected to take place in early December 2022 (tentative).

In accordance with the current draft Governance document of the Coalition, all organisations that have signed the Agreement through an authorised representative, and that are:

  • Universities, and their associations;
  • Research centres, research infrastructures, and their associations;
  • Academies, learned societies, and their associations, and associations of researchers;
  • Public or private research funding organisations and their associations;
  • National/regional authorities or agencies that implement some form of research assessment and their associations; and
  • Other relevant non-for-profit organisations involved with research assessment, and their associations.

will be entitled to join the Coalition.

All organisations fulfilling these criteria and having signed the Agreement by mid-November (tentative) will be invited to participate in the first meeting of the General Assembly of the Coalition (the “Constitutive Assembly”), expected to take place in early December 2022 (tentative), and/or subsequent General Assembly meetings depending on when the Agreement will have been signed.

To join the Coalition, organisations must have signed the Agreement through an authorised representative, and be (in accordance with the current draft Governance document of the Coalition):

  • Universities, and their associations;
  • Research centres, research infrastructures, and their associations;
  • Academies, learned societies, and their associations, and associations of researchers;
  • Public or private research funding organisations and their associations;
  • National/regional authorities or agencies that implement some form of research assessment and their associations; and
  • Other relevant non-for-profit organisations involved with research assessment, and their associations.

Until the first meeting of the General Assembly of the Coalition (the “Constitutive Assembly”), compliance with these criteria will be checked by the interim secretariat (formed by Science Europe, the European University Association and the European Commission) and approved by the interim Chairs (Science Europe and the European University Association).

As from the Constitutive Assembly, this will be checked by the Coalition Secretariat and approved by the elected Steering Board of the Coalition.

Organisations can sign the Agreement at any time and consequently join the Coalition. However, the earlier organisations sign the Agreement and join the Coalition, the stronger their role in the decision-making process on the organisation and operation of the Coalition.

Indeed, the first organisations to sign the Agreement will be invited to the first meeting of the General Assembly of members of the Coalition (the “Constitutive Assembly”), during which the main governance documents will be adopted, the Steering Board will be elected, and the organisation(s) due to host the Coalition Secretariat will be selected.

The “Constitutive Assembly” is the first meeting of the General Assembly of members of the Coalition.

The following objectives are expected to be achieved during this first meeting: Adoption of the general Governance document; Adoption of the procedure to elect the Steering Board members; Election of the Steering Board members; Election of the President of the Coalition; Decision on the organisation(s) that will host the Coalition Secretariat; Discussion and potential adoption of the Rules of Procedure for Working Groups; and adoption of the first budget of the Coalition.

This “Constitutive Assembly” is expected to take place towards the end of 2022.

The General Assembly decides on the Governance of the Coalition, elects the President and the Steering Board of the Coalition, and decides on the organisation(s) that host the Coalition Secretariat. It also approves the strategy (proposed by the Steering Board) guiding the operations and activities of the Coalition as a whole, its annual work-plan and budget (prepared by the Secretariat), and the procedures and criteria for the operation of the Working Groups (proposed by the Steering Board).

Support to the operation of the Coalition will consist primarily of voluntary in-kind contributions from its members, as well as funding obtained from research funding organisations and/or cash contributions from members.

Options for more detailed funding models are currently being prepared and will be discussed in the following months with the organisations having already expressed interest in the initiative. Specific options for funding models will be submitted for approval during the first General Assembly of the Coalition (i.e. “Constitutive Assembly”).

Yes, organisations can leave the Coalition at any time by informing the Coalition Secretariat.

Those national or regional authorities that effectively implement research assessment can sign the Agreement and join the Coalition. However, the Coalition does not foresee any special, dedicated role to national/regional authorities in its governance. The Coalition shall be community-driven and all members will have equal voting and participation rights.

Together with Science Europe and the European University Association, the European Commission has acted as facilitator of the process for preparing the Agreement, and is now facilitating work and discussions on how the Coalition will be organised and operate. After the Constitutive Assembly, the European Commission will join the Coalition in its quality of funder of research and innovation and will participate in the operations of the Coalition in equal terms as other Coalition members.

Participation of organisations in the Coalition will be on a voluntary basis, and participants will keep full control on the steps they make to implement the Agreement and the speed of their reform journey, which can vary from one organisation to another depending on many factors, e.g. their starting point, the national or institutional administrative and legal framework conditions, their specific missions, the disciplines concerned or the assessment level. By joining the Coalition, organisations commit to share information on the progress made and lessons learnt in their reform journey, according to the timeframe included in the agreement. Sharing of information shall be done on the basis of self-assessment and by no means the progress of individual organisations will be validated by the Coalition.

DORA has welcomed the new Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment and coalition as an important part of the growing international movement for research assessment reform, through a dedicated DORA statement. DORA has in fact been consulted from the early stages of this project, provided detailed feedback on early drafts of the Agreement, and is now participating in the implementation group to define the modalities of operation of the coalition that will support the reform efforts by the signatories of the Agreement. Some organisations that signed DORA may be asking themselves whether they should also sign the new Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment and join the coalition. Two possible scenarios can be envisaged:

In the first, an institution that has signed DORA but not yet travelled far down the road to reform could opt to sign the Agreement and join the coalition as a way of demonstrating a commitment to practical reform and participating in that endeavour with other research organisations. The Agreement aligns with the spirit of DORA, so any decision-making process could be fast-tracked by the organisational leadership.

In the second, if the institution has already implemented their commitment to DORA by reforming their research assessment practices, they may feel there is not a particular advantage in signing up. Nevertheless, they could still choose to sign the agreement to offer the benefit of their experience to other members of the coalition, develop further changes to research assessment in accordance to the Agreement, and support the development of a coherent assessment ecosystem.

As described in the call for candidates, there are some profiles expected for the candidates. There are also eligibility criteria: 

  • The candidates need to be nominated by a member organisation of CoARA; 
  • Only nominations from organisations that will have signed the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment by 17 November 2022 and whose CoARA membership will be confirmed by the time of the Constitutive Assembly, will be considered eligible; 
  • Also, the candidates need to be “employees, or other persons affiliated or having a contractual relation” with the organisations nominating these candidates. 

This later eligibility criterion means that there must be some connection between the candidate and the nominating organisation. This connection can take various forms, for example: 

  • The candidate is an employee of the organisation, or has a contractual relation with it; 
  • The candidate is member of a board of the organisation, or has an advisory role for the organisation; 
  • In the case of an association, besides the two above-mentioned points, the candidate could also be an employee of one of the member organisations of the association, has a contractual relation with this member, or has another connection with this member. 

The election of the Chair and of other Steering Board members, including the Vice-Chair(s), will be carried out in two separate elections.  

First, the General Assembly of CoARA member organisations will elect the Chair, based on the candidacies for Chair received.  

A second election will be run for the ten other Steering Board members positions, including for the Vice-Chair(s). The Steering Board candidates having received the majority of votes will be elected, with the caveat that the balancing criteria (described in the Rules of Procedure) are met. If among the elected Steering Board members there are candidates who have indicated the willingness to serve as Vice-Chair(s) in their application, up to two of them will be nominated as Vice-Chair(s).  

In case more than two Steering Board members had indicated their willingness to serve as Vice-Chairs, the two elected Steering Board members having received the majority of votes will be appointed as Vice-Chairs.  

In case there are no candidates who have indicated willingness to serve as Vice-Chairs among the elected Steering Board members, no Vice-Chair(s) will be appointed.  

Yes, it is possible to apply to more than one type of Steering Board position of the CoARA (Chair, Vice-Chair, and other Steering Board member).  

In case the same person has indicated the intention to apply for the three positions, if elected as Chair, this person will not run anymore for Vice-Chair(s) and other members of the Steering Board election. 

See also question “How will the election of the Chair, Vice-Chair(s) and other Steering Board members be organised at the Constitutive Assembly? 

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