press release
Published: 05 January 2023

University of Surrey signs the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

The University of Surrey is pleased to announce that, in October 2022, Vice-Chancellor Max Lu signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, commonly known as DORA.

Through DORA, Surrey commits to supporting the general recommendations of DORA, which state: “Do not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions”. 

Two further recommendations form the institutional commitment. The first of these advises that institutions: “be explicit about the criteria used to reach hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions, clearly highlighting, especially for early-stage investigators, that the scientific content of a paper is much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it was published”. 

The second recommendation considers that: “for the purposes of research assessment, consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets and software) in addition to research publications, and consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice”. 

These recommendations help provide the context to realise Surrey’s ambition to become a leading research and innovation institution with talented staff, students and postgraduate researchers committed to research excellence and to benefit the economy, society, and the environment.  

This focus on the merit and rigour of the research and innovation created forms an important element in fostering an open, collaborative research and innovation culture.  

Recognition of the full range of research outputs, as well as the diverse range of contributions to the research ecosystem, and valuing all forms of impact both within and beyond academia, reflects the breadth of cross-disciplinary research and innovation being undertaken, the importance of open, transparent research practice, and our aspirations to make a difference with a real-world impact which benefits society. 

Ensuring that all these contributions to research and innovation are considered on their own merits supports our institutional values of inclusion, inspiration, integrity and innovation.  

Signing DORA places Surrey within a community of researchers, universities, research institutions, publishers and funders who assign importance to responsible and fair approaches to research assessment and are working to improve sector approaches. As the leading global statement, DORA provides an external standard and reference for our academic community and partners in our commitment to this.  

Commitment to DORA was approved by the University Senate and is supported by an institutional Responsible Use of Metrics Implementation Plan developed by the Open Research Working Group, which sets out the steps through which the University seeks to embed and support responsible metrics across the institution, as part of an Open Research culture.  

Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, said: 

“At the University of Surrey, our research and innovation mission are founded on a values-based culture of excellence. I am very pleased to sign DORA on behalf of the University as a public commitment to the importance of valuing research for its integral merit and according to what we really value in research and researchers here at Surrey.”   

Professor Emily Farran, Academic Lead for Research Culture and Integrity at the University of Surrey, said:  

“A positive research and innovation culture enhances research quality and underpins the success of Surrey’s Research and Innovation Strategy. The responsible use of metrics across our University endeavours, at both the institutional level and at the level of each researcher, is a key element of our open and transparent research and innovation culture at Surrey.” 

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