Funders will discourage the use of impact factors and other journal metrics to judge research

All seven of the UK’s research councils have signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (Dora) and promised to use metrics ‘responsibly’ when assessing the quality of research.

Dora opposes the use of journal metrics – specifically impact factors – by funders and institutions as a way to measure research quality and impact. It was set up in 2013 by the American Society for Cell Biology, and has since been signed my more than 12,000 researchers and 800 organisations.

As well as announcing they had signed the declaration, the UK research councils released a statement saying they will ‘highlight to reviewers, panel members, recruitment and promotion panels that they should not place undue emphasis on the journal in which papers are published, but assess the content of specific papers, when considering the impact of an individual researcher’s contribution’.

The councils also intend to participate in the UK Forum for Responsible Metrics – an organisation exploring the best ways to measure research impact in higher education institutions.

Ian Viney, the Medical Research Council’s director of strategic evaluation and impact, said: ‘Research councils are committed to these actions, which we will continue to develop over time. We want to actively work with the research community on issues that are important to strengthen fairness, diversity, robustness and effectiveness of peer review.’