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The University of Bologna and the CNR will lead the Italian National Chapter of CoARA

19 September 2023

Towards a European reform of research assessment: the proposal to set up the Italian National Chapter of the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) has been approved by the CoARA Steering Board. It was jointly presented by the University of Bologna and the CNR and was signed by 45 Italian organisations, including ANVUR.

Alberto Credi, Vice Rector for Research at the University of Bologna, who submitted the National Chapter proposal as proponent, expressed his satisfaction with this result, emphasising its inclusiveness: "85% of the Italian signatories of the Agreement, i.e. 45 out of 53 organisations, have endorsed the proposal developed by the Alma Mater and the CNR. This is a significant sign of unity and commitment of the national community in participating in this initiative of crucial importance for the future of research in Italy and Europe”.

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Together with other initiatives, CoARA - which recently exceeded 500 members in total and is establishing itself as the leading movement for research assessment reform in Europe (although the ambition is to take the movement beyond Europe's borders) - is paving the way for a profound reconsideration of how research activities should be examined, with a clear impact on researchers' careers.

One of the main points is first of all the desire to abandon an evaluation system that is based solely on quantitative parameters linked to journal publications and which has generated a 'publish or perish' mechanism that has little to do with the quality of the scientific process. In addition, the need to recognise the overall value generated by researchers, thereby broadening the concepts of research 'product' (not only publications, but also data, software, protocols) and research 'activity' (giving due recognition to activities such as peer review, mentoring, policy engagement) is clearly stated. The conviction is that this broadening of perspective will improve not only the quality of research but also the research culture.

The Italian National Chapter, which will start in September under the leadership of co-chairs Francesca Di Donato (National Research Council) and Francesca Masini (Delegate for Open Science and Research Data at the University of Bologna), aims to raise awareness among the national community towards the reform promoted by CoARA, creating an active network among member organisations to share good practices and to discuss the revision and development of research evaluation criteria, tools and processes.

The National Chapter - which will hopefully be joined by further organisations in addition to the initial members - will also interact and collaborate with the other National Chapters that are being formed and with the thematic Working Groups that will be approved by the Coalition. The kick-off meeting will be held on 8 September in Bologna.

Written by

Lottie Provost
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