Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Forum for Responsible Research Metrics

In 2015, an independent report entitled "The Metric Tide" chaired by Prof James Wilsdon of the Science Policy Research Unit (Univ Sussex) drew attention to the rising pressure on universities, research funders and policymakers to use quantitative metrics in the assessment of research quality and productivity.  In the opinion of many academics and information professionals, however, the current levels of understanding of  the ways in which such measures are calculated, described and used is not high and can lead to inappropriate conclusions being drawn and unintended negative publishing behaviours developing.

To address these matters, the Forum for Responsible Research Metrics has been set up by a partnership of HEFCE, RCUK, Universities UK, Wellcome and JISC in September 2016 to develop the understanding, transparency and flexibility of research metrics as applied throughout the UK research and funding communities. Under the chairmanship of Prof David Price, Vice-Provost (Research) at the University College London, the Forum will advise all UK higher education funding bodies as to how research metrics might best be used in assessing research outputs and environments, Such advise will have particular relevance in terms of the consultations currently taking place on the structure of the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise scheduled for 2021.

Steve Smith
March 2017

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