Initiatives and Activities

Initiatives and Activities
2040 strategy

In 2020, the University launched its 2040 strategy, setting out our commitments over the next 20 years to become more inclusive, international and sustainable and to increase interdisciplinarity.  Underpinning these commitments, and integral to achieving our 2040 goals, is an inclusive and supportive research culture.

DORA signatory

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is a worldwide, cross-disciplinary initiative which recognises the need to improve the ways in which scholarly research outputs are evaluated and seeks to encourage key stakeholders in the research publications process to develop and promote best practice. The University of Aberdeen became a signatory in July 2020.

The University appointed a DORA Implementation Officer in March 2022, and DORA compliance is being taken forward as part of the recommendations arising from the report produced by the Research Culture Task & Finish Group.  Working with HR, DORA guidance has been provided for inclusion in the Recruitment Toolkit and involvement is ongoing in the Promotions Review exercise.  In conjunction with the Scholarly Communications Team in the Library, work has commenced on a Policy on the Responsible Use of Metrics.  In addition, a Statement on Responsible Research Assessment is also being developed.

Researcher Development Concordat
  • The Researcher Development Concordat aims to improve the environment and culture in which research is conducted, and provide support for research staff careers both within and outside academia. The University became a signatory to the Concordat in July 2020, providing an exciting opportunity to focus work and push boundaries in the way we support research careers.
  • We monitor progress against this Concordat through the HR Excellence in Research Award.  The University first gained this award in 2010, and successfully retained it in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2021.
UK Reproducibility Network

The University of Aberdeen was one of the first 10 UK universities to join the UK Reproducibility Network. The aim of the network is to assist researchers, university administrators, public and private research funders and academic journals to work in partnership to raise the standard and quality of research. UKRN initiatives will include the development of common training across career stages, aligning promotion and recruitment criteria to support open and reproducible research practices, and sharing best practice.

Open research
  • The greatest benefits of knowledge come when it is shared as widely as possible. The University of Aberdeen is committed to open research and the Open Research Team are here to provide advice, support and guidance.
  • The Open Science Working Group is an alliance of staff and students at University of Aberdeen who believe open and reproducible research practices are necessary for scientific progress to be robust. Our purpose is to support each other as we embed these practices in our learning, teaching, and research, and to act as champions for these ideals across the university.
Supporting good research culture in practice: the Aberdeen Research Futures fund

The Aberdeen Research Futures fund supports postdoctoral researchers to collaborate across disciplines to organise career development events for their colleagues, in line with our 2040 strategy.

In 2019, postdoctoral researchers Dr William Hepburn (History), Dr Naomi Jacobs (Computing Science) and Dr Samantha Jones (Archaeology) organised a workshop entitled 'Game Development and Research'.  It aimed to discuss how research and gaming can intersect, and to deepen researchers' knowledge and understanding of the games industry.

Dr Hepburn has created a prototype scholarly game based on his historical research, and is exploring future directions with this.  He confirmed that the workshop "helped me learn how to talk about games to an interdisciplinary audience and sharpened my methodology for running research-led game design workshops.  It has also given me a contact in the games industry and some interdisciplinary academic contacts with an interest in games."

Training and development

The University offers a wide range of training and development to support researchers in creating a positive culture, including mandatory training in research ethics and governance, data management, research integrity, and equality, diversity and inclusion.  More information can be found on the Researcher Development pages.