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Research metrics

Responsible metrics

Responsible metrics is the appropriate and responsible use of quantitative indicators in the assessment of research performance. Scenarios where metrics can feature include recruitment, promotion and review processes.

Recent reports and initiatives include:

Funders increasingly require funded researchers to demonstrate their commitment to responsible metrics. For example, Wellcome's updated policy came into effect in January 2021. Wellcome have also issued Guidance for research organisations on how to implement the principles of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

What is happening at the University?

The University is committed to the use of peer review and expert judgment as the central component in the assessment of research outputs and wider research performance. It also recognises the value of quantitative metrics in supporting decision-making.

The University is committed to responsible metrics and has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) signatory logo

The University of Leeds statement in support of responsible metrics in the assessment of research is available on the Research and Innovation Service website. A Responsible Metrics group, a subgroup of the Research Culture group, has been created and is establishing priorities. More information, including what this means for researchers in a practical sense, will follow later in the academic year.

Considerations when using metrics

Considerations when using metrics include:

  • Quality: high quality, innovative, rigorous research has the potential to attract a high number of citations but a direct correlation to high quality should not be assumed.
  • Disciplinary patterns: publication frequency and type (journal articles, conference proceedings, books) vary between disciplines. If you are comparing data from more than one discipline it is important to use standardised indicators such as percentages or averages
  • Researcher profile: it is important to take into account factors that may affect researcher’s metrics, such as career stage.

Database coverage: the sources used to gather publication data may index different journals. The results will vary depending on which database you use.