Researchers and their work are assessed continuously in different situations and at different stages of their career, such as during the examinations of doctoral dissertations, funding applications, job recruitment, career advancements, and more broadly, as part of the evaluation of research conducted by universities and other research organisations.
The Finnish research community has taken an active part in the development of the assessment process. Since 2012, responsible assessment has been developed through the publication of, among others, the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK’s Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) guidelines and Template for researcher’s curriculum vitae, as well as User guide for the Publication Forum classification 2019. In 2018, the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies appointed a working group tasked with drafting guidelines for responsible assessment for the Finnish science community. A FUURT representative was also involved in the preparation work.
The Federation’s working group published its national recommendation for researcher evaluation, entitled Good practice in researcher evaluation, in 2020. According to the recommendation, the general principles of researcher evaluation include transparency, integrity, fairness, competence and diversity. These are applied to the good practices identified within the recommendation under the evaluation process sub-areas:
- Building the evaluation process
- Evaluation of research
- Diversity of activities
- Researcher’s role in the evaluation process
The Academy of Finland and Universities Finland UNIFI, among others, have committed to compliance with the recommendation. The activities of the organisations to advance responsible evaluation has also been taken into consideration as part of the monitoring of open science and research.
In terms of the development of responsible research assessment, the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers has viewed it as vital that researchers’ work and its impact be assessed with consideration for the diverse nature of the work. The forms of research work and its impact can vary, for example, between fields of science or research methods, but also because of each researcher’s own background, personality and objectives. Societal interaction can, thus, manifest in many different ways, for example, as corporate co-operation and the commercialisation of research results; as science popularisation; as active participation in public discourse; as different expert tasks, etc.
Furthermore, it is important to take into account the researcher’s participation in the activities and development work of science and other communities, which may not previously have been given any notice or value. Teaching and guidance tasks and the experience gained from them are also an essential aspect of a researcher’s work, but at the same time, consideration must be paid to the researcher’s career stage, position and the different possibilities for researchers to participate in teaching and guidance tasks.
Responsible research assessment is also being developed on the international level. The European Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment was published in July 2022. The Agreement focuses on actions to promote diversity, openness and inclusiveness in research and its assessment that strengthen the quality and impact of science and research.
The need for updates to the national recommendation for responsible researcher evaluation will be reassessed by the steering group appointed by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, which includes a representative of FUURT.
Good practice in researcher evaluation national recommendation (2020)
Responsible assessment (Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, Responsible Research)