San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

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The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is a declaration originating from the December 2012 meeting (conference) of the American Society for Cell Biology. On May 13, 2013, more than 150 scientists and 75 scientific organizations had signed the declaration.[1][2] The American Society for Cell Biology states that, as of 10 May 2013, there are more than 6,000 individual signatories to the declaration and that the number of scientific organizations "signing on has gone from 78 to 231" within two weeks.[3]

The declaration intends to halt the practice of correlating the journal impact factor to the merits of a specific scientist's contributions. Also according to this statement, this practice creates biases and inaccuracies when appraising scientific research. It also states that the impact factor is not to be used as a substitute "measure of the quality of individual research articles, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions".[1]


On 16 December 2012, a group of editors and publishers of academic journals gathered at the Annual Meeting of The American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco to discuss current issues related to how the quality of research output is evaluated and how the primary scientific literature is cited.[4]

The motivation behind the meeting was the consensus that impact factors for many cell biology journals do not accurately reflect the value to the cell biology community of the work published in these journals; this also extends to other fields in the biological sciences. The group therefore wanted to discuss how to better align measures of journal and article impact with journal quality.

There is also an alarming trend for the citation of review articles over primary literature, driven in part by space limitations that are imposed by some journals. Because this citation bias contributes to lower citation indices for journals that focus mainly on primary literature, the group discussed ways to combat this trend as well.

The outcome of the meeting and further discussions was a set of recommendations that is referred to as the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, published in May 2013.[4]

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