(EN) Conference · Research evaluation

Événement passé
Open access week
3 novembre 2020
14h 17h


Part 1 | Open Science – a blueprint for the university in the 21st century? (Paul Ayris)

This paper looks at the view of Open Science in LERU, the League of European Research Universities and their recent work in this area. It then analyses Open Access publishing activity in UCL (University College London), looking at Plan S and the creation of UCL Press as the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press. The paper shows how Rewards, Incentives and Next-Generation Bibliometrics can help to re-shape cultures to embrace Open Science principles and practice. The paper ends by announcing the launch of the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship and answers the exam question set by the title of the presentation – Is Open Science a blueprint for the University of the 21st century?

Part 2 | Strategy proposal for action towards a new Open Science-minded assessment of research and researchers (Bernard Rentier)

1. Each University should set up an institutional committee on evaluation policy, determine institution-specific evaluation criteria and implement them internally, and set up training programs. Universities should also ensure that the criteria for their doctoral programs meet the Open Science principles. At the inter-university level, they should create consortia on evaluation in order to unify evaluation procedures among themselves.
2. University associations and research funding agencies should promote international coordination and harmonization, foster international debate on recognition of merit, and provide training and education for university evaluation committees.
3. Finally, evaluation committees and juries should responsibly use measures to evaluate researchers (e.g. OS-CAM: Open Science Career Assessment Matrix), adapting their criteria according to career advancement and research field, favour qualitative over quantitative criteria by using narratives rather than numbers, and finally require those evaluated to make a very short selection of what they consider themselves to be most representative of their contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

Part 3 | Why we need to change Recognition and Rewards? (Frank Miedema)

The system of recognition and rewards available is seen by researchers and policy makers alike as the most important in effecting the change towards open science. Transforming the way research and researchers are evaluated and incentivized has proven to be difficult because the evaluation criteria and customs are often engrained in academic cultures. In the current system, researchers and their research are judged by journal impact factors, publisher brands and H-indices, and not by actual quality, real use, real impact and openness characteristics.

Under those circumstances, at best open science practices are seen as posing an additional burden without rewards. At worst, they are seen as actively damaging chances of future funding and promotion & tenure. Early career researchers are perhaps the most dependent on traditional evaluation culture for career progression, a culture held in place by established researchers, as well as by institutional, national and international policies, including funder mandates. 

While Utrecht University needs to take into account the national and international context researchers find themselves in, it can operate at the forefront of developments towards open science. Funders (e.g. Wellcome Trust, Research Councils UK and EU) and other organizations (e.g. VSNU with the Standard Evaluation Protocol) have changed assessment criteria, moving away from simple counting, now requiring narratives and indications of societal impact. Funders are also starting to change their criteria, rewarding not only new research lines but also allocating money for replication studies (e.g. NWO).

A few institutions have already changed their promotion and tenure systems (e.g. UMCU). Other universities changed their code of conduct to include open science practices. Another important example is the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment  external link(DORA), signed by VSNU and thousands others, including Utrecht University. DORA makes researchers and stakeholders commit to moving away from journal based evaluations, consider all types of output and use various forms of metrics and narrative assessment in parallel. The Leiden Manifesto provides guidance on how to use metrics responsibly. Finally, funders (e.g. ERC and NWO) requiring open access publishing and journals requiring data sharing, also contribute to the uptake of open science practices by researchers.  

In line with these developments Utrecht University will prioritize and implement evaluation criteria that value open science practices, making them part of conditions for grants and hiring, tenure & promotion policies, and allocating resources accordingly. This can include open science practices in education. As the argument can be made that not every researcher should be expected to be good at everything (e.g. outreach activities), open science could also be evaluated at the level of research groups, not (only) individual researchers.


Dr Paul Ayris is Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services & the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship). He joined UCL in 1997.

Dr Ayris was the President of LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) 2010-14. He is Chair of the LERU (League of European Research Universities) INFO Community. He also chairs the OAI Organizing Committee for the Cern-Unige Workshops on Innovations in Scholarly Communication. He is a member of the UUK High-Level Strategy Group on E-Resource purchasing for the Jisc community. On 1 August 2013, Dr Ayris became Chief Executive of UCL Press. He is a member of the Provost’s and President’s Senior Management Team in UCL. On 1 October 2020, Dr Ayris launched the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship, of which he is head.

He has a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History and publishes on English Reformation Studies. In 2019, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Bernard Rentier was Rector and President of the University of Liège from October 2005 to September 2014 after having been its Vice-Rector from 1997 to 2005. A virologist and immunologist by training, he conducted his research at the National Institute for Medical Research (Mill Hill, London, 1975) and at the National Institutes for Medical Research (Bethesda, MD, USA, 1976-1981) and then at the University of Liège. He is the author of numerous scientific and popular publications.

His scientific work has focused on influenza, measles and chickenpox.

Bernard Rentier received the insignia of Doctor honoris causa from the Université du Québec à Montréal in recognition of his contribution to open access to scientific information and the promotion of Open Access values around the world. He chaired the EUA group "Research and researchers' assessment in an Open Science context" from 2016 to 2020.

He is Vice-President of the Belgian Federal Council for Science Policy and President of the Public Education Council of the Federation Wallonia Brussels.

He was elected to the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts in 2016.

Frank Miedema, PhD, professor of Immunology, is Vice Rector for Research and chair of the Utrecht University Open Science Program. He studied biochemistry in Groningen and obtained a PhD from the University of Amsterdam. After a career in biomedical (HIV/AIDS) research in Amsterdam, from January 2009 to March 2019 he was dean and vice chairman of the Executive Board at the University Medical Center Utrecht.

He is one of the initiators of Science in Transition (2013) who argued that science and in particular the academic incentive and reward system is in need of fundamental reform to increase quality and impact. Next to Science for Science, the impact on society must be valued more and societal stakeholders should be involved more in the production of knowledge.