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Coara assessment reform group hails membership milestone

Coalition implementing EU-backed reform agreement welcomes growing membership from outside Europe

Over 600 institutions have now signed up to overhaul their approach to research assessment by becoming members of the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment.

Coara launched with more than 300 members in December 2022. It was created to help members implement a voluntary agreement on making their methods for assessing researchers fairer and more inclusive—including by adopting a more qualitative approach and abandoning inappropriate use of metrics.

On 17 January it said this figure had now doubled, in part by growing its membership outside Europe. The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment was initiated by the European Commission, and Coara’s early membership was primarily European.

‘Growing global recognition of Coara’

Karen Stroobants, vice-chair of the Coara steering board, said at the launch that it would be a challenge for the group to keep up its pace in gathering members. Commenting on the group now reaching 600 members, she told Research Professional News: “For me, it’s a highlight of the year that we have seen that momentum kept.”

Seventeen new members joined in the first half of this month alone, Coara said, adding that there was “growing recognition” for the group globally, with members in countries including Andorra, Australia, Chile and the US. Membership provides access to working groups, events and resources.

Eva Méndez, another steering board representative, said the growing number of organisations seeking full membership of Coara, rather than merely signing the agreement, “signifies a profound commitment from these organisations to be at the forefront of reform” and help shape both Coara and research assessment practices.

In its first year, Coara launched 10 thematic working groups following an open call for proposals. It has also developed national chapters that deal with the challenges of reform within different legal and cultural contexts.