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CoARA Working Group Towards Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment announced

24 July 2023

A few months have passed since the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) launched its call for members to propose Working Groups and National Chapters on 28 March 2023. Being the first since the beginning of CoARA in December 2022, the call was an important step in the Coalition’s action to tackle the need to reform research assessment and highlighted how the working groups will support the implementation of the commitments contained in the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment. Members of the Coalition had until 6 July 2023 to send their proposals which were then reviewed by the CoARA Steering Board.

We are very pleased to announce that the proposal for the CoARA Working Group Towards Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment (OI4RRA) has been accepted. A group of 23 Coalition members* from around the globe joined forces to propose a Working Group focused on making research assessment more transparent and responsible, consequently enabling the research community to be in full control of the data and indicators it relies on in assessments.

Research assessment generally relies on proprietary databases which often use proprietary analytic tools. Still, open research information is crucial for responsible research assessment which in turn needs data, tools and infrastructures that ensure transparency, reproducibility and geographic-discipline-output coverage in data and indicators. The existing Open Infrastructure community has created and operates open solutions (e.g., OpenAIRE, OpenCitations, COKI, OpenAlex, Semantic Scholar), most of which have yet to find their way in official research assessment operations.

As research becomes more digital and research assessment practices are moving towards including a wider diversity of research outputs and practices, the need for an interconnected and decentralised open infrastructure ecosystem is increasingly evident.

The ambition of the Working Group “Towards Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment” is to enable institutions to move from proprietary infrastructure and research information, to open, interoperable alternatives which support the transition to responsible research assessment practices.

The Working Group will focus on mobilising existing Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment, while also establishing a path towards a global Open Infrastructure for Responsible Research Assessment ecosystem. This effort will take into consideration the wide range of research outputs and open science practices, and address the diversity of the global research community.

To achieve its ambitions, the working group plans to carry out the following activities:

  • Engage a Community of Practice of both open infrastructure providers and Responsible Research Assessment stakeholders which will work together to develop practical solutions to optimise the use of existing open infrastructures.
  • Carry out systematic analysis of longer-term scenarios for moving toward open, interoperable, sustainable, community-governed OI4RRA.
  • Conduct a scenario analysis, as the basis for an OI4RRA implementation plan, focusing on agreed principles, governance models that ensure inclusive and equitable participation, and sustainability models informed by a detailed analysis of the expected costs.
  • Submit implementation recommendations to CoARA members and CoARA board.

The added value of the CoARA Working Group “Towards Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment” is the transition to a fully OI4RRA ecosystem that is fit to serve existing and emerging needs of reformed RRA agendas. In order to do so, the Working Group will facilitate the use of existing open infrastructures while at the same time developing plans and actions towards the long term vision of open, interoperable, sustainable, and community-governed infrastructures for responsible research assessment.


*The members of the Working Group are as follows: OpenAIRE, Leiden University (CWTS), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV), Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, University of Minho, Masaryk University, OpenCitations, University of Debrecen, Trinity College Dublin, University of Bologna, Universities Norway, NIFU (Nordic institute for studies of innovation, research and education), EIFL, Netherlands Research Council (NWO), COKI (Australia), National Institute of Informatics (NII, Japan), Michael J. Fox Foundation (United States), Technische Universiteit Delft, West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN, Ghana), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands), UEFISCDI (Romania), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia).

Written by

Lottie Provost
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