The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) was conceived by a group of journal editors and publishers at a meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in December 2012. It proclaims a pressing need to improve how scientific research is evaluated, and asks scientists, funders, institutions and publishers to forswear using journal impact factors (JIFs) to judge individual researchers.
It is time to shift from making declarations to finding solutions. With the support of the ASCB, Cancer Research UK, the European Molecular Biology Organization, the biomedical funder the Wellcome Trust and the publishers the Company of Biologists, eLife, F1000, Hindawi and PLOS, DORA has hired a full-time community manager and revamped its steering committee.
Declarations such as DORA are important; credible alternatives to the status quo are more so. True success will mean every institution, everywhere in the world, bragging about the quality of their research-assessment procedures, rather than the size of their impact factors.