Progress

The Scientific Excellence Working Group is working together with The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), ICSU, ALLEA, the JRC, and several European Commission Expert Groups to drive change in the perception and measurement of scientific excellence. These collaborations have led to significant results that are impacting policy on a local, regional as well as global level (see the section “outcomes”).
Currently, we are working together with the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) on a proposal on “Evaluating Research: Assessment and Improvement of Current Practice” and we are collaborating with the JRC on a document on measuring the impact of science advice.
In 2016, we organised a workshop “Publishing models, assessment, and open science” in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. We are currently reworking the results of the workshop, which include a framework of questions and a set of concrete recommendations, for publication.
Finally, we started a project on “Scholarly evaluation practices around the globe as used for institutional promotion procedures” which will give us a firm data set to develop new evidence informed policy recommendations. We are also analysing and revising our own criteria for scientific excellence in our membership selection procedures, in close interaction with discussions on the latest developments in quantitative and qualitative indicators for different kinds of excellence.

Outcomes

  • Participation in “Policy impact of knowledge and knowledge organisations: From understanding impact towards measuring it”, June 2017 (Koen Vermeir)
  • On a request by ALLEA (ALL European Academies) we gave expert feedback on “The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity – Revised Edition”, published in 2017. For the factsheet by the European Commission on this document, see: Factsheet on the new European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. (Martin Dominik, Robert Lepenies, Koen Vermeir)
  • In 2016, the Working Group submitted a well-received expert opinion for the Open Science Policy Platform of the European Commission report on “Next-generation metrics: Responsible metrics and evaluation for open science”, published in 2017.
  • Participation in “Open access and research evaluation: towards a new ecosystem”, Toulouse, October 2016 (Koen Vermeir)
  • In 2015, the group was invited to present the perspective of young scientists around the world on “Rewards, careers, and integrity” in a panel discussion “Research assessment and quality in science: Perspectives from international science and policy organisations” convened by ICSU as part of the “4th World Conference on Research Integrity”, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 31 May to 3 June 2015. As a result of a critical analysis by the WG, concrete recommendations for implementation both in the short and long term were brought forward, embracing the link between integrity, transparency, openness, and reproducibility, while warning about pressures that young scientists are facing, and pointing to the effect of reward systems on brain drain.
  • Participation in “The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication”, The Royal Society, London, Apr/May 2015 (Martin Dominik)
  • Participation in “Beyond Bibliometrics – Identifying the Best“, 8th Humboldt Forum, Berlin, Nov 2014 (Catherine Beaudry)
  • “What is the role of a scientist and what environment is required to fulfill it?”, session organised as part of the careers programme at the 2014 Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in Copenhagen, Denmark (Martin Dominik, Catherine Beaudry). As young scientists face a multitude of challenges in their research environments, there is increasing pressure to perform, to conform. Sometimes, diversifying beyond traditional niches is the only way forward. Early-career scientists possess an immense drive to engage, but this potential is not always met by opportunities, and they feel that their wings are clipped. Looking towards solutions for overcoming this dilemma, the session engaged the participants in an interactive debate on the role of a scientist and on the environment required to fulfill it. The dialogue between the two GYA members, Liudvika Leisyte (TU Dortmund) and Alaa Ibrahim (American University in Cairo), as well as the participants of the session touched on issues regarding the size of research grants, mobility, collaboration, gender issues, promotion criteria, peer review, to name a few.
  • “Perceptions of Research Excellence in Thailand and Japan”, STI Policy Review 4, 113, 2013 (Orakanoke Phanraksa, Mitsunobu Kano, Shoji Komai, Wibool Piyawattanametha, Martin Dominik, Rob Jenkins). This publication is the result of the Working Group’s first project, started in 2012. We conducted a survey on the perceptions of research excellence at one leading research institute in Thailand. The findings were used as a basis for improvements in the institutional policy of that institute as well as to further compliment the GloSYS precursor study. In the publication, we assessed the research environment, the promotion of opportunities, and the structures that ensue from assessment criteria.
  • Editorial in “Future of Medical Education Journal” on “Science, Education, and the World’s Future” by Bruce Alberts (FMEJ 2, 2, 2012), soliciting views on “How could young scientists unleash curiosity and creativity to support excellence in science education?“ (Reza Afshari, Marc Creus, Rob Jenkins)