Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA)
Scientific research is a multidimensional, complex, and nuanced endeavor and cannot be evaluated solely on the basis of publication statistics. This is why ISTA joined the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA).
CoARA’s goal is to have the assessment of research, researchers, and research organizations incorporate the diverse outputs, practices, and activities that maximize the quality and impact of research. Assessment should be primarily based on qualitative evaluation, for which peer review is central, supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators. All coalition members signed the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment which sets a shared direction for change.
This reform movement aims to be an inclusive and collaborative space to advance together towards a higher quality, more impactful, and more efficient and inclusive research system. It offers a platform for piloting, for developing new assessment criteria and methods, for reflection, and mutual learning, while fully respecting the autonomy of organizations.
Assessment at ISTA
Each year, ISTA evaluates more than a thousand applications for faculty positions. Out of those, more than 40 applicants are invited to the ISTA campus for two days. There, they meet ISTA’s scientists, give talks about their work, and present their future research goals. This way, the faculty Recruiting Committee can conduct a well-informed qualitative assessment of the applicants. Having published a long list of scientific papers is not a requirement to become a professor at ISTA. Instead, the Faculty Recruiting Committee looks for people with visionary ideas for research. Similarly, applicants for PhD positions at ISTA are invited for a visit on campus to meet the researchers and to present their work. Once they are accepted, they join ISTA’s Graduate School where they use the first two semesters to work with different research groups to get to know the Institute before choosing their PhD affiliation.