Dublin, Ireland, 19 January 2022 - Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has announced the publication of a collaborative report produced by the SFI-led Funding Organisations for Gender Equality Community of Practice (FORGEN CoP) and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

The report was produced following a joint workshop held for funding organisations in 2021, which explored strategies that can help to mitigate potential bias that can occur when narrative CVs are used in grant evaluation and to optimise their use in research assessment.

A narrative CV highlights research outputs and achievements, as opposed to providing lists of publications and grants, and can be used as an alternative approach to assess researchers. It focuses on the quality and relevance of these achievements in relation to the research proposed, rather than solely on quantity of outputs over time or metrics as a substitute for quality. The narrative CV also allows a wider breadth of research outputs to be included for evaluation. This approach may support researchers that have had non-linear career paths or career breaks by removing the focus on metricised research productivity, which can be affected by periods of leave.

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) recognises the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated beyond widely used journal impact factors. The declaration was published in 2012 and has become a worldwide initiative. SFI is a signatory of DORA and a member of the DORA funder discussion group which was set up in March 2020 to allow for further discussions and communication about research assessment reform.

The SFI-led FORGEN CoP has collaborated with DORA’s funder discussion group to enable funding organisations to accelerate the development of new policies and practices leading to positive culture change and best practice in gender equality in research and innovation funding. Methods to assess the applicant are key in grant evaluation as inequalities in the grant evaluation processes are more prevalent when assessments are focused on the researcher, as opposed to the research.

A short report that captures learnings from the workshop, and identifies a course of action to improve narrative CVs as a tool for assessment, can be accessed here.

DORA and FORGEN CoP-SFI have partnered with the Swiss National Science Foundation, and UK Research and Innovation to collectively build on this work, with a second workshop for research funders planned for February 2022. This workshop will aim to identify shared objectives for the use of narrative CVs in grant funding and determine how funding organisations can work collaboratively to monitor their effectiveness. If you work at a public or private research funding organisation and would like to participate, please email diversity@sfi.ie

Dr Rochelle Fritch (Scientific Programme Manager, Research Policy, Science Foundation Ireland) leads the Funding Organisations for Gender Equality Community of Practice (FORGEN CoP) and represents SFI in the DORA funder discussion group.