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Open University DORA Implementation Plan

In November 2020 The Open University (OU) signed the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA).

DORA is relevant to all disciplines and researchers at all stages of their career. DORA has a vision and main objectives which the OU will implement through:

  • recognizing the need to improve the ways in which researchers and the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated
  • embedding a culture that recognises the need to use metrics responsibly in all research assessment processes
  • being explicit about the criteria used to reach hiring, career advancement and promotion decisions
  • considering, for the purposes of research assessment, the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets and software) in addition to research publications as well as a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice

The OU DORA Implementation Plan is informed by the ten principles of the Leiden Manifesto.

The OU is committed to ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion in its research practices as per the OU Strategy 2022-2027 and the OU Research Plan 2022-27.


The implementation of DORA is a University-wide exercise and impacts on many areas of academic as well as professional staff activity. DORA implementation will be supported by:

The DORA Academic Reference Group which includes diverse representation from Faculties and Institutes. This group acts as an academic sounding-board for DORA implementation initiatives via the DORA Implementation Group. The Academic Reference Group will champion DORA implementation and awareness-raising activities at Faculty and/or School levels.

The DORA Implementation Group includes representation from: People Services from all Faculties, the Library and the Research, Enterprise and Scholarship (RES) Unit (research assessment lead). This group will support the implementation tasks alongside the DORA Academic Reference Group and in consultation with other OU Stakeholders, including OU staff networks.

Other OU Stakeholders include the steering group for the implementation of the Concordat for the Career Development of Researchers which explicitly mentions DORA as a relevant initiative; the OU’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusio (EDI) Office responsible for the OU’s Athena SWAN programme and other EDI initiatives relevant to improving staff equity; the OU Branch of the University and College Union (UCU) who are supportive of DORA implementation; research management professionals and internal staff networks to include diverse perspectives.


The DORA Implementation Plan adheres to the OU’s Statement on the Responsible use of Research Metrics and is informed by the ten principles of The Leiden Manifesto.

Agreed actions

There is a shared responsibility for the implementation of DORA at The Open University, which is summarised below. The Actions were approved in July 2022 by the OU Research Committee and will be monitored by the DORA Academic Reference and Implementation Groups, which report to Research Committee. The actions are to:

  • facilitate DORA awareness-raising through roadshows, presentations and training across all Faculties and institutes, including professional research management colleagues
  • share information about DORA implementation with relevant internal groups (e.g. Athena SWAN programme and Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers Steering Group, EDI Office and staff networks)
  • ensure any training and information events relevant to DORA clarify the links between DORA implementation, EDI, career advancement, open research and the responsible use of research metrics across all disciplines and career stages.
  • provide guidance on qualitative indicators of research quality that can be used alongside or in place of metrics in Academic Promotion and Career Advancement discussion and decision-making
  • develop a diverse network of DORA champions via the DORA Academic Reference Group for all Faculties, Institutes and the Nations
  • review recruitment and promotion policies, processes, training and materials
  • develop training content and discipline-sensitive examples for alternative ways of capturing research excellence that use metrics responsibly and avoid Journal Impact Factors (JIFs) as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual outputs
  • remain sensitive to, and include in procedures, specific funder guidance and preferences relevant to the responsible use of metrics (e.g. UK Research and Innovation, Research England, European Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Royal Society etc)

Monitoring and review of the DORA Implementation Plan

The OU’s DORA Implementation Group is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness and impact of the implementation plan, in liaison with the DORA Academic Reference Group, and reports to Research Committee.

The University is committed to the continuous improvement of our staff development provision and encourages feedback from staff. Where it is appropriate, best practice will be shared as part of our commitment to improve our service provision.


If you have any queries or would like to find out more about how The Open University is implementing DORA, please contact the RES Research and Enterprise team.