Responsible Metric Use

There are many different ways of measuring research impact. Metrics provide a useful way to quantify the attention a piece of research receives, however, it's important to acknowledge their various limitations and use them responsibly.

The Metrics Toolkit outlines the limitations of 28 types of research metric, along with notes about how they're calculated and examples of appropriate use. You can also use the Explore Metrics function to narrow your range of metrics by type of research.

In 2015, the Higher Education Funding Council for England commissioned an Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management. They reported their findings in the publication The Metric Tide.  The report argues that responsible metric use can be understood in terms of five dimensions:

  1. Robustness: Basing metrics on the best possible data in terms of accuracy and scope
  2. Humility: Recognising that quantitative evaluation should support - but not supplant - qualitative, expert assessment
  3. Transparency: Keeping data collection and analytical processes open and transparent, so that those being evaluated can test and verify the results
  4. Diversity: Accounting for variation by field, and using a range of indicators to reflect and support a plurality of research and researcher career paths across the system
  5. Reflexivity: Recognising and anticipating the system and potential effects of indicators, and updating them in response

Wilsdon, J., et al. (2015). The Metric Tide: Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management.

Other resources that explore the responsible use of metrics include the San Fransisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and the Leiden Manifesto.

To ensure the data used to calculate your metrics is as accurate as possible, visit the Managing your Profile page.

See also:

Profiles, not metrics (Clarivate)

HumetricsHSS Initiative

Need help?

  • For assistance, reach out to the Open Research Team at [email protected].
  • For additional resources, explore our Express Research Workshops, a collection of online, self-paced tutorials that complement our regular Research Workshops, covering various topics.