The Swedish Research Council participates in international collaboration to develop the assessment of research
The Swedish Research Council welcomes the work at international level of developing joint guidelines and principles for assessing research. We are signing the agreement drawn up by the European University Association (EUA) and Science Europe, and are looking forward to taking part in the future Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment.
The agreement includes undertakings that lay out a joint direction for developing criteria and processes for expert review of research, with respect for each organisation’s autonomy. The over-arching purpose is to maximise the quality of research.
The Swedish Research Council considers that criteria and processes for expert review should be developed together with active researchers. It is also central that a global perspective is applied to the development. An important starting point in the work is to find a balance between qualitative assessment carried out by experts (peer review), and responsible use of quantitative indicators to support this assessment.
The Swedish Research Council has taken active part in the introductory work at European level on formulating the over-arching principles and undertakings relating to assessment of research that are included in the agreement. Much of what is highlighted are features that we have already implemented in our framework for peer review, for example via our eight fundamental principles and guidelines for peer review and our four basic criteria for assessing the scientific quality of applications. We therefore make the assessment that the Swedish Research Council fulfils the undertakings established in the agreement. The Swedish Research Council works continuously on improving its assessment processes; particularly topical is the work on developing the assessment of merit.
As development progresses, the Swedish Research Council will continue working to ensure the processes and criteria for assessing research that are produced are implemented responsibly, with the starting point that they are adapted to the purpose of the assessment and the scientific field to be assessed. Central features are that the work continues to focus on rewarding the quality of the research, and that the assessment is suitable for basic as well as for applied research, and for more practice-based research. As a funding body for researcher-initiated basic research, we regard this as an extra important aspect.
“We believe that the Swedish Research Council can play an important role in the coalition of organisations that will be party to the work. The Swedish Research Council is firmly established in the research community, with members of our board and scientific councils elected by Sweden’s researchers. We also have a mandate to promote research of the highest scientific quality in all fields of science,” says Maria Thuveson, Executive Director of the Swedish Research Council, and the Swedish Research Council's representative in the core group of 18 organisations that have contributed to the work of drawing up the agreement.
The coalition's work starts in December
More than 350 organisations from over 40 countries were involved in the process of drafting the agreement, including the Swedish Research Council. Organisations that sign can be part of a coalition (COARA, Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment) for knowledge exchange and discussion about the work ahead. The work is carried out in working parties initiated by the members.
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