EARMA Conference Oslo


Towards a European framework for Recognition and Rewards?

Recommendations from the Netherlands, Finland and Norway


Ragnar Lie


  • H
    Herman Strøm


EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Oral 30 Minutes

Topic: Open Science & Responsible Research & Innovation


In this session we will take stock of the diverse approaches, regarding the new trend of responsible assessment policies and initiatives towards assessing and recognizing a greater breadth of competencies in academic careers, - considering open science practices. Especially we will compare the three national recommendations from the Netherlands, Finland and Norway to identify common topics and differences, and furthermore; - given that open science is about to become the new norm, are we heading towards a modernised European framework for recognition and rewards?

Starting with the DORA declaration (https://sfdora.org/), the Leiden Manifesto on research metrics, and the Metric tide report, an increasing number of international statements outline guiding principles for responsible research assessment (Curry et al., 2020).

Instead of narrow focus on research, publications and metrics, responsible assessments entail rewarding a greater breadth of activities and impacts of academic work, recognizing diverse outputs, a broad range of open science practices (Moher et al., 2020), differences between fields (Mustajoki et al., 2021), as well as multilingualism in scholarly communication (https://www.helsinki-initiative.org/).

Research and academic activity are international and collaborative by their very nature. People, funding and research output can all transverse national borders and continents. There is therefore little scope to change the framework for assessing academic staff and projects in isolation. In addition, the merit and assessment systems are fundamental to the entire knowledge sector, including funders and the knowledge based society outside the higher education institutions. A real shift towards new assessment practices therefore requires multiple national and international actors to make changes.
Recently, recommendations for implementation of responsible research assessment at national level have been produced in the Netherlands (VSNU, NFU, KNAW, NWO and ZonMw, 2019), Finland (Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, 2020), and Norway (Universities Norway, 2021), as well as in strategic documents from the EU (See e.g. Scoping Report: Towards a reform of the research assessment system https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/36ebb96c-50c5-11ec-91ac-01aa75ed71a1/language-en ) as well as Science Europe’s Recommendations on research assessment processes. In the present French EU-presidency (Spring 2022) the ambition is to launch a European agreement that would be signed by individual research funding organisations, research performing organisations and national/regional assessment authorities and agencies, as well as by their associations, all willing to reform the current research assessment system.

In this session, common features of the recommendations from Finland, Netherlands and Norway will be presented as a basis for a discussion on how to further develop new practices for recognition and rewards and the possibility of working towards a common European (and global?) framework for assessing the quality of research and academic careers.

Learning outcomes:
Participants will be made familiar with the most up to date work on approaches of modernizing the system of recognition and rewards internationally, as well as be included in discussions and reflections on how to this policy field may or should develop further. Given that the very foundation of the academic quality assessment system might be in flux, this topic is highly relevant for experienced research managers in developing research strategies and shaping support services for future funding requirements, both in HE and national funding, as well as supporting academics in their career strategies.