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DARMA Annual Conference 2016:

The Metric Tide

Keynote by Simon Kerridge, University of Kent and ARMA (UK)

The Metric Tide – Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management, supported by HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) was published in July 2015. The report takes a deeper look at the use (and misuse) of metrics in research and research management. The UK has used metrics in a more systematic way than other countries—Denmark included—and this report is important reading for anybody who wishes to understand what measuring science entails.

At the DARMA Annual Conference, one of the co-authors, Simon Kerridge from the University of Kent and the current Chair of ARMA, will present the report. In the Executive Summary of the Metric Tide, the scope of the study is described like this:

"This review has gone beyond earlier studies to take a deeper look at potential uses and limitations of research metrics and indicators. It has explored the use of metrics across different disciplines, and assessed their potential contribution to the development of research excellence and impact. It has analysed their role in processes of research assessment, including the next cycle of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). It has considered the changing ways in which universities are using quantitative indicators in their management systems, and the growing power of league tables and rankings. And it has considered the negative or unintended effects of metrics on various aspects of research culture.

The report starts by tracing the history of metrics in research management and assessment, in the UK and internationally. It looks at the applicability of metrics within different research cultures, compares the peer review system with metric-based alternatives, and considers what balance might be struck between the two. It charts the development of research management systems within institutions, and examines the effects of the growing use of quantitative indicators on different aspects of research culture, including performance management, equality, diversity, interdisciplinarity, and the ‘gaming’ of assessment systems. The review looks at how different funders are using quantitative indicators, and considers their potential role in research and innovation policy. Finally, it examines the role that metrics played in REF2014, and outlines scenarios for their contribution to future exercises."

The report and additional material can be downloaded from the Responsible Metrics website...


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