At the end of last November, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) announced that in 2019 they will team up to create a new approach to recognizing and rewarding academics.
Up until now, much importance in the assessment and promotion of academics has been given to metrics. Metrics are quantitative measures designed to help evaluate research outputs and they mainly focus on papers published in academic journals. The idea is to reduce the role that metrics play in the promotion of researchers, in favour of other factors, such as the quality of teaching.
The renewal of the existing framework is considered by these four organisations as essential to stimulate the researchers’ development and to facilitate the transition to open science (as new approaches to evaluating research quality and impact are emerging). As of 2019, the VSNU, NWO, NFU and ZonMw will launch a string of activities in cooperation with universities, in a multi-level effort which will also involve national and international support. The changes will affect three main domains:
1. Differentiation of career pathways: academics will be able to choose one specific focus area among teaching, research, knowledge transfer and leadership;
2. Renewal of research assessment methodologies, with the promotion of open science as an integral part of this development;
3. Team science: collaborative efforts and accomplishments will be given more consideration.