Responsible assessment

Last updated 27.6.2022

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Responsible Assessment 

The Recommendation for the responsible evaluation of a researcher in Finland provides guidance on how to carry out the researcher's assessment from start to finish responsibly. The researcher is assessed both in recruitment situations, at different stages of the career path and when allocating funding. An individual researcher can be assessed as part of a larger entity when he or she is part of a research group or when an extensive research evaluation is carried out in his or her research organisation. Researchers are often assessed in situations involving comparison and competition.

The Finnish research community has taken a strong stand on the development of responsible evaluation. In spring 2020, the Recommendation for the responsible evaluation of a researcher in Finland  was published, prepared by a broad-based working group set up by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies in 2018. Researchers' representatives and interest groups, organisations, funders and service providers have jointly considered how research and researchers should be assessed responsibly. At the same time, consideration has been given to what a vibrant research community looks like and how career paths of a researcher may diversify in the future.

Promoting responsible assessment is a common goal of the responsible research coalition in Finland. The latest recommendation incorporates previous work including The Responsible Conduct of Research guidelines, The Researcher's CV template, as well as by the User Guide for the Publication Forum classification.

The aim of the Helsinki Initiative for Multilingual Scholarly Communication, launched in 2019, is to encourage the dissemination of research information to a wider audience than the scientific community, to support national publication channels that enable multilingual publishing and to promote multilingualism in research evaluation and funding systems. 

For more information: Subject term search | Responsible Research (vastuullinentiede.fi)

National Recommendation

The general principles of researcher evaluation are transparency, integrity, equity, competence and diversity. They shall apply to the good practices defined in the Recommendation concerning the following aspects of the evaluation process:

  • Building the evaluation process
  • Evaluation of research
  • Diversity of activities
  • Researcher’s role in the evaluation process

The first aspect of the recommendation concerns good practices in building the evaluation process. Care must be taken to ensure that the objectives and criteria of the evaluation are transparently available to all parties involved. The materials used in the evaluation must be both collected and used appropriately and comprehensively. The evaluators must be free of conflict of interest and the pool of evaluators must be diverse. Equality must be ensured in the selection of criteria, datasets and evaluators.

The second aspect of the recommendations on good practice focuses on the evaluation of research, which takes into account scientific quality, open access and research integrity. The scientific quality of research can be assessed by studying both its contents and using research metrics as an aid for the qualitative evaluation. The recommendation includes a nine specific recommendations for the responsible use of publication metrics.

The third aspect of the recommendations deals with the diversity of the researcher's activities. Teaching and tutoring is seen as an essential part of the researcher's work and must be appropriately emphasised in the evaluation. The evaluation takes also into account societal interaction and impact, as well as the researcher's activities in research and other environments. Since researcher activities are implemented differently in different research fields, their indicators must be defined in each evaluation context to take into account the specific characteristics of the fields of research.

The fourth aspect of the recommendations invites the researcher into the assessment process. In responsible evaluation, the researcher must be allowed to provide context and explanation of the objectives, significance and effectiveness of his/her research. It would be a good idea to plan the evaluation in such a way that the evaluated researchers also benefits from being evaluated. 

Implementation Plan

Tasks for implementing the recommendation are included. The Steering Group for Responsible Assessment of The Researcher is responsible for the implementation of these:

  1. Developing an organisational measure for capa-bility and maturity in evaluation.
  2. Each research organisation and funder com-mitted to the recommendation creates its own guidelines for implementing the recommen-dations for the responsible evaluation of a researcher and monitors their implementation.
  3. A researcher portfolio model (e.g. Acumen ) and a portfolio portal compatible with the TENK curriculum vitae model will be developed and implemented nationally.
  4. At national level, a sufficiently diverse research knowledge base will be developed to support evaluation.
  5. Adequate guidance and instruction on respon-sible evaluation is provided at national and organisational levels.
  6. Recognition of evaluation carried out by experts and the resources required are guaran-teed in all evaluation work.
  7. The Recommendation for the responsible evaluation of a researcher is updated and its implementation monitored.

The Academy of Finland and Universities Finland  UNIFI are adopted the recommendation.

The activities of organisations to promote responsible assessment are taken into account as part of the Monitoring for Open Science and Research. The objectives and measures related to responsible assessment are defined in the Policy for Open Scholarship and in the Self-Assessment Tool for Open Operating Culture Services. 

The development of the Researcher's Information package in the www.research.fi service also supports responsible researcher evaluation. 

International Collaboration

The Finnish national recommendation for responsible evaluation and assessment was one of the first national guidelines in the world. Cooperation to develop the evaluation in Finland will now continue in close cooperation with international partners. The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies is one of the organisations committed to the reform of the EU Commission's evaluation. 

Collaborative links are are strongest with: 

Steering Group

The steering group is to assess the need to update the national recommendation and to monitor and promote the implementation of the action plan. The steering group has been appointed for the period 2021-2024 and will meet at least once a year.