Our Projects
Click the tabs below to explore the RoRI programme.
CRITERIA
EXCELLENCE
FAIRWARE
PATHWAYS
PEER REVIEW
RANDOMISATION
RoRI CRITERIA project
How do grant application criteria influence inequalities in research funding?
Project summary
Whether through grant application forms, interviews, metrics, internal reviews, external reviews or lotteries, funders want their proposal selection processes to do one thing: select the proposals most likely to meet their objectives, such as the creation of new knowledge or the application of research to societal challenges. Increasingly, funders recognise the importance of including a diversity of individuals and approaches in order to meet these objectives. Despite recognition of the importance of diversity, persistent inequalities in research funding are observed across many settings. Inequalities have been frequently reported for gender, but also exist across ethnicities and different fields.

Research examining gender inequalities has suggested various possible explanatory factors. Unconscious bias on the part of reviewers may play a role, as may differences between scientific fields, in applicant track records and in how applicants describe their own work. The selection process a funder uses may mitigate or exacerbate these factors.

The CRITERIA project will use data from many funders who each use a variety of different selection processes in different contexts. We will use the Funder Data Platform to: a) examine where funding inequalities do and do not exist for gender and scientific field and b) test different explanations for the presence or absence of these inequalities using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data. This may include data from funder selection processes such as their review criteria, characteristics of applicants such as their gender, and characteristics of their applications such as the scientific field or patterns of language use. The outputs of CRITERIA will help funders understand the potential drivers of inequalities in research funding, and identify where mitigation is possible through changes to their selection processes.
Anticipated outputs
  • The prep phase of CRITERIA will establish the Finder Data Platform data sharing infrastructure and analysis environment for funders to collaborate together, as wella s a system for categorising review processes.
  • The analysis phase will produce a standardised, cross-funder description of gender and field differences in funding success rate, and suggest the most likely explanation for these difference.
  • These outputs will be disseminated through published research articles and engagement with funder.
RoRI partners
  • Australian Research Council
  • Austrian Science Fund
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • Novo Nordisk Fonden
  • Research Council Norway
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
  • DBT/Wellcome India Alliance
  • UKRI
  • Wellcome Trust
Lead RoRI contact
Matthew Thakur (m.thakur@wellcome.org)
RoRI EXCELLENCE project
Definitions, applications and alternatives to excellence in the evaluation, management & measurement of research.
Project summary
This project will aim to assess the ways in which the idea of excellence is currently used by funders and other key actors in the research ecosystem (including publishers, university managers, and research evaluation agencies, as well as researchers themselves), and to evaluate the functions itserves in specific practices (including funding decision making, publishing, quality evaluation etc), in order to explore its possible futures.
Anticipated outputs
  • Case studies: document analysis and interviews.
  • Literature review: 'excellence' in the research ecosystem.
  • Position paper: A collectively authored short position paper on the notion of excellence.
  • Peer-reviewed paper: Reporting findings of the project.
RoRI partners
  • African Academy of Sciences
  • Australian Research Council
  • Austrian Science Fund
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Chan Zuckerberg Institute
  • European Molecular Biology Organization
  • Fondazione Telethon
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • National Institute for Health Research (UK)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Wellcome Trust
Lead RoRI contact
Lisette Jong (e.p.d.jong@cwts.leidenuniv.nl)
RoRI FAIRware project
An open source software tool to promote
the re-usability of research outputs.
Project summary
FAIRware is a multi-funder initiative being led by RoRI in partnership with the Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research (BMIR) to develop an automated online tool (or suite of tools) to help researchers ensure that the datasets they produce are FAIR at the point of creation. The project also hopes to encourage uptake of the tool(s) by researchers and research funders so as to maximise the value of the outputs they produce.

The project aims to have a beta version of the FAIRware tool ready in the summer of 2022, initially focusing on a small number of disciplines with the potential to be expanded to any field in which datasets are routinely generated. All outputs and documentation proceeding from the project will be made openly available under an open-source licence to allow anyone to extend the code written by BMIR.

Anticipated outputs
  • Active online open source community of developers.
  • Suite of tools designed to empower researchers, funders and institutions to maximise the value of their research outputs; and facilitate further research into the ways that funders and researchers can best advance adherence to the FAIR principles.
RoRI partners
  • Austrian Science Fund
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • National Institute for Health Research (UK)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research (BMIR)
Lead RoRI contact
Adam Dinsmore (a.dinsmore@wellcome.org)
RoRI PATHWAYS project
Career pathways in research: a six-country, multi-partner study of data, frameworks & future directions.
Project summary
A project to explore career pathways in research, with an empirical and policy focus on six countries: Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, UK and USA.

The project will be designed and delivered by a team drawn from RoRI partners in these countries, and a wider network of data, research and policy partners. It will follow a modular structure, conducted via desk analysis and online meetings, to enable pragmatic management of defined elements, and to get initial project work underway during the present Covid-19 disruption.
Anticipated outputs
  • A report / publication on:
    • what data is being collected:
    • strengths / limitations / gaps w current approaches;
    • visual systems view.
RoRI partners
  • African Academy of Sciences
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Austrian Science Fund
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Chan Zuckerberg Institute
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • Novo Nordisk Fonden
  • UKRI
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Wellcome Trust
Lead RoRI contact
Claire Fenton (c.fenton@wellcome.org)
RoRI PEER REVIEW project
Experiments in peer review.
Project summary
This project explores the varied experiments that are currently being undertaken by scholarly publishers and others in peer review and related quality control approaches – from peer review of preprints to post-publication peer review. In the first stage of this project, we intend to develop an inventory of current peer review experiments, enabling us to capture and systematise the wide-ranging innovative work currently being undertaken. We expect this to provide a better understanding of the drivers and motivations of innovations in this area, and help us to assess how the different initiatives may influence the future development of scholarly peer review. Having gained an overview of the latest activity, we will then undertake a set of case studies of peer review experiments in which we aim to offer more in-depth insights into specific developments in peer review. In one of the case studies we are already working with the COVID-19 Rapid Review initiative on analyzing dissemination and quality control of COVID-19 research.

To support the project we have assembled a small advisory group from amongst the publisher community. Members of the advisory group are:

  • Chris Graf (Wiley)
  • John Inglis (bioRxiv/medRxiv)
  • Catriona Maccallum (Hindawi)
  • Bernd Pulverer (EMBO Press)
The group advises on the design and strategic direction of the 'Experiments in Peer Review' project as well as on interpreting and disseminating the findings and results.


Anticipated outputs
  • Reports.
  • Research articles.
RoRI partners
In addition to a formal partnership with the COVID-19 Rapid Review initiative, we are developing collaborations with a number of scholarly publishers.
Lead RoRI contact
Johanna Brumberg (j.brumberg@wellcome.org)
RoRI RANDOMISATION project
Focal randomisation in grant funding: a multi-funder comparative study.
Project summary
Worldwide, there is growing interest in the application of randomisation (or lottery-type mechanisms) to aspects of the grant funding system, and a small number of funders are undertaking trials and experiments on various scales.

By linking and supporting RoRI partners over the next 12 months in a series of planned trials of focal, or targeted randomisation in funding processes (our preferred term to "lotteries", which can be misleading), and facilitating closer alignment and learning between these, the RoRI consortium could effectively undertake the most comprehensive analysis of these techniques to date. We would learn from and build directly upon existing or planned efforts by several of our partners, as well as drawing on a largely theoretical or model-based literature.

As we look towards Phase 2 of RoRI, this work could potentially expand from its starting point of focal randomisation into a broader series of funder experiments.
Anticipated outputs
  • Initial working paper setting out the terrain and what partners are doing.
  • Kick-off workshop in November 2020
  • Bespoke support for partners in their own internal activities and plans in this area.
  • Final project report (November 2021).
  • Final project workshop (November 2021).
  • Design of future programme of experiments for phase 2 of RoRI.
  • Academic paper based on these findings.
RoRI partners
  • Australian Research Council
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Austrian Science Fund
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Chan Zuckerberg Institute
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • National Institute for Health Research (UK)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
  • Novo Nordisk Fonden
  • Research Council Norway
  • Swiss National Science Foundation
  • UKRI
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Wellcome Trust
Lead RoRI contact
Helen Buckley Woods (h.b.woods@sheffield.ac.uk)
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