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The Unnamed Research Culture Event

Pushing for Research Culture Change

DORA, the Declaration on Research Assessment.....It is just a word, isn’t it? Could something similar be useful for Research Culture?

We know expectations, metrics and criteria are being developed for REF. We see networks and groups emerging, all with the aim of supporting research culture change. How do we take these threads and come together to provide something for the everyday experience of research culture?   

DORA started as a group of interested parties coming together to create a set of recommendations to support the research community. But it is so much more than a word. A co-created declaration, statement or word can hold a lot of power for those who feel they have none.  It provides a safe way to tackle or call out behaviours that ‘are not in the spirit of’. A way to encourage others, to set expectations and most importantly, bring cultural change. 

Is it time to consider something similar for research culture?  Challenging poor behaviours sitting under the umbrella of research culture is difficult. An output, undefined at this stage, could: 

  • Take the emotion out of addressing challenging behaviour – that is not in the spirit of DORA, is much easier than labelling a comment as discriminatory 
  • Provide a clear set of actions or expected behaviours to champion 
  • Reduce ambiguity when dealing with inappropriate conduct, when everyone follows the same expectations 
  • Provide a positive rather than punitive approach to culture change 
  • Help individuals to focus on how they can contribute to culture change outside REF and quantitative metrics 

We know from DORA there are other benefits to this kind of approach: 

  • Improves the quality and impact of research 
  • Discourages gaming metrics 
  • Promoting ethical research practices 
  • Reducing unethical behaviours 
  • Challenges the publish or perish culture 
  • Encourages collaboration over competition 
  • Promoting fairness and equity in research 

Do we need, and could we create an 'entity’ that empowers people to foster a healthy, positive research culture by promoting collaboration, equity and fairness? 

How do I get involved?

We are hosting a free 2-day hybrid event aiming to bring together key people and groups in research culture to discuss: 

  • If something is needed
  • What format it could take 
  • What it should include 

We would like to invite you to join us, either in-person or online, to be part of this discussion.  We will include overnight accommodation, with an evening dinner to enable networking.

We have 30 places available for the in-person event with up to 50 online places available.

Dates: Monday 15th July (11-5) and Tuesday 16th July 2024 (9.30-2), overnight accommodation can be provided on Monday 15th July. 

What to expect

A mixture of speakers, discussion groups, task focussed exercises and feedback.

Monday 15th July

Suggested plan:  

  • Speakers 11-12.30 
  • Why do we need this? A discussion session
  • Lunch 
  • Breakout 1: What is the scope? What themes could it cover and what does it need to cover? 
  • Feedback
  • Room available for networking/discussion  
  • Dinner 

Tuesday 16thJuly

  • Reflections 
  • Breakout 2: What would 'it' look like? 
  • Lunch 
  • Breakout 3: Who needs to be in the co-creation? 
  • Next steps 

This is just the start of the conversation

Join us and be part of the discussion

If you are interested in joining us please fill out this expression of interest