NOR-CAM – A toolbox for recognition and rewards in academic careers

Front page of the report, illustrated by tools hanging on a shed wall - Click for large image

 A working group appointed by Universities Norway (UHR) was mandated to recommend guiding principles for the assessment and evaluation of research(ers) in light of the transition to Open Science. This working group proposes a more flexible and holistic framework for recognition and rewards in academic research assessment. The ambition has been to develop a guide that adopts three core principles for assessment: more transparency, greater breadth, and comprehensive assessments as opposed to one-sided use of indicators.

NOR-CAM and the associated framework for assessment can be used by:

  • Academic institutions
    • when recruiting academic and scientific staff
    • in processes related to promotion from one scientific career stage to the next
    • career guidance of employees by department and research leaders

as well as by:

  • Funders when assessing project managers and participants in connection with research applications
  • National authorities when evaluating of Norwegian research and education

An important goal of the guidance and framework is to make the assessment processes more transparent and predictable, both for the individual and for the institutions. What skills are needed for the position to be filled? How well does your own competence fit the position advertised? What are the requirements for promotion? The guide is flexible but offers a systematic and structured framework for assessment.

For a new research assessment framework the working group has proposed:

Six principles:

  1. Measure quality and excellence through a better balance between quantitative and qualitative goals
    • Bibliometric indicators should be used with caution and supplemented with other information
  2. Recognise several competencies as merits but not in all areas at the same time or by each employee
    • The individual academic is not expected to excel in all areas. It is the universities that must achieve the expected objectives given by the government regarding research, education and interaction with society, not the individual academic
  3. Assess all results, activities and competencies in the light of Open Science principles
    • Openness should be seen as an integrated part of the academic activity
  4. Practice transparency in the assessment and visibility of what should be recognised as merit
    • Individuals must know what criteria will be used to assess them and must be given insight into how the criteria are applied
  5. Promote gender balance and diversity
    • Changes in the assessment criteria must be sensitive to impact on gender balance and diversity
  6. Assist in the concrete practice of job vacancy announcements and assessment processes locally
    • The framework should be a helpful tool in the recruitment and appraisal processes in the institutions and within the academic communities

Four recommendations:

  1. To establish a comprehensive framework for the assessment of academic careers that:
    • balances quantitative and qualitative goals and forms of documentation for academic standards and competencies
    • enables diverse career paths and promotes high standards in the three key areas: education, research and interaction with society
    • recognises the independent and individual competencies of academic staff as well as their achievements in groups and through collaboration
    • values ​​Open Science principles (including open assessment systems)
    • values and encourages academic leadership and management
  2. To engage internationally in developing a Norwegian assessment model because:
    • changes in the assessment criteria cannot be made by one country alone
    • a Norwegian model can contribute to related processes internationally
  3. To use NOR-CAM as a practical and flexible tool for assessing academic results, competence and experience for academic personnel. NOR-CAM will highlight six areas of expertise through systematic documentation and reflection
  4. To develop an ‘automagic CV system’ that enables academics to retrieve data that can be used to document competencies and results in their own career, including applications for positions, promotions and external funding.

Read the full NOR-CAM-report: – A toolbox for recognition and rewards in academic careers (PDF, 2 MB). 

Read the short version.  (PDF, 6 MB)


Ragnar Lie
Senior Adviser
Mobile 92 42 03 99