SIRR aims to clarify in the Aurora network the university’s role in society and its position regarding global challenges.
This includes a demonstration of societal value and relevance of research and education. The first goal for the near future is to agree on a policy regarding impact in research within Aurora, working on separate policy documents on research impact and open access and open science. Related activities of the Bibliometrics group are included here.
The theme of impact and relevance of research is a vital focus of the Vice Rectors Research group with as chair Jon Atli Benediktsson and secretary and contact person is Haldor Jonsson. Specific activities and results:
Summary of recent activities
SDG analysis: bibliometrics of relevance: Again at the Antwerp Aurora Biannual, the project was presented – with a particular focus now on the Biosphere related SDGs. The interactive tool on the Aurora website now allows graphic data representation on any selection of the nine Aurora universities and the 17 SDGs. The robustness of the methodological set up is now the issue of highest concern – and will not be achieved overnight. The engagement of the vice-rectors research in this effort is crucial.
At the Biannual in Antwerp, the bibliometricians came together and discussed several scenarios for the robustness of the methodological setup. It is resulting in a collaborative workflow validating the current methodologies first, discovering its weaknesses, before creating a new classification model. This validation should be finished in February, but we faced organisational and technical difficulties at the start of the workflow chain, were the other dependent activities are delayed for three weeks.
Meanwhile, in December, we had a constructive talk with THE and Elsevier-Research Intelligence, to collaborate and create a global standard for SDG-classification in research publications. This collaboration contains that Elsevier is creating the queries and providing the data for validation. Aurora universities activities will be to contact researchers to validate the delivered data.
About the bibliometrics group
The Bibliometrics group may be seen as working within the overall domain of Societal Impact and Relevance of Research.
The main goals of the Aurora bibliometrics workgroup are to:
- Provide Aurora leadership insight into the strengths and weaknesses of (potential) research collaboration between its members and with industrial partners, a.o. through in-depth bibliometric analyses
- Exchange information, experience and best practices on working with existing Clarivate & Elsevier databases and tools and how these can feed university and Aurora policy making
- Contribute to the development of a comprehensive Aurora benchmarking tool containing a clear set of KPIs corresponding to universities’ and Aurora’s visions and policy goals to complement (or supplant) global university rankings as a primary benchmarking compass
- Collaborate closely with the Aurora working group on ‘Societal impact and relevance of research’ (SIRR) on describing and measuring societal impact (including alt-metrics)
- Collaborate closely with the Aurora working group on ‘Societal impact and relevance of research’ (SIRR) on the challenges of Open Science, including but not limited to research data management (a.o. open data)
The following initiatives have been put on track to achieve these goals:
- Further university-level analyses of the Elsevier bibliometric report presented at the Aurora launch event, specifically focussed on identifying institutional strong and weak points, collaboration nodes within Aurora, and (possible) collaboration(s) with industry (overlapping companies), which are relevant for individual universities as well as necessary building blocks for a more comprehensive Aurora-wide report
- Exchange of information and best practices on ensuring correct attribution of researchers in bibliometric databases, such as Scopus and Web of Science, to improve the coverage of the partner universities’ publication output, not only in the context of university rankings
- Further analysis of the survey held among Aurora members on ‘open science and FAIR data policies and practices’, to be further discussed and developed
- A first draft outlining the ‘Aurora research benchmarking initiative’, to be further discussed and developed
- Incomplete draft addressing the correct attribution of publications in online databases, to be further developed and discussed.
The Vice Rectors Research group has identified a shared aspiration among Aurora universities in the field of working conditions and perspectives for “early career researchers”(PhDs and post-docs). It has asked for a survey of current offerings of services and courses within Aurora universities that may help to provide early career researchers with an outstanding environment and experience; a proposal will be discussed at the February meeting of the group.
The group on Doctoral education has submitted a strategic partnership proposal under KA2 of the Erasmus+ programme in April 2019 (UI is the lead coordinator, VUA is the project manager). UI and VUA have met in Amsterdam in April 2019 to finalise writing the Erasmus + proposal. (with considerable help from others, and especially UEA in the final stages). All project partners who are Aurora members have also duly provided with signed participation statements.
The Aurora Future Influencers Mobility Programme aims to allow doctoral students from Aurora Universities to circulate throughout the network and work in interdisciplinary settings with academic and industry actors, regardless of financial limitations and domestic responsibilities. This triple mobility will empower a new generation of socially responsible research leaders/influencers who can communicate, innovate and exert influence across national, social and disciplinary boundaries and contribute to the realisation of the Europe 2020 objective of smart, sustainable, inclusive growth. The project is based on creating mobility packages and stimulating the mobility of 200+ PhD candidates within three years.
Some members of the Doctoral group have met in Amsterdam during the workshop of the EUA Council on Doctoral Education 17-18 January 2019 at VU Amsterdam to work on the Erasmus+ proposal.
A follow-up meeting is planned during the EUA Council for Doctoral Education Conference 2019 in Italy, Brescia June 12-14. The group will also Skype at the end of June to catch up on recent developments in doctoral education stemming from their participation in various workshops and conferences meanwhile, as well as discuss the steps forward in case the Erasmus grant is awarded, and when it is not the case.
The EU Research Funding & Information Managers have met in Grenoble for the second time to compare current practice and share knowledge/expertise in supporting applicants, strategies and networks for EU applications, and in the preparation of universities for the upcoming Horizon Europe research funding programme. Emphasis was geared towards a better understanding of organisational structures and processes of individual EU grant offices as well as thematic focus areas and research strengths of the individual Aurora universities.
Apart from exchanging research support, work procedures, and best practices in research support, there have been ongoing activities to initiate, synchronise and harmonise actions regarding Horizon Europe and FP9 programmes. Among others, the group have been in touch with the Aurora board to consider the pros and cons of a concerted effort to position Aurora in the call of experts, which will advise the European Commission on missions in Horizon Europe. Furthermore, group members have teamed up with other university networks and stakeholders given societal impact and citizen involvement and provided input for the Aurora contribution to the university advocacy for the new Horizon Europe and ERASMUS programmes.