Responsible use of metrics

The University of Dundee is committed to responsible and fair research assessment.

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Metrics are a series of measures used to quantify, assess, and monitor published research. Traditional bibliometrics count citations based on individual authors, articles, and journals. Alternative metrics commonly referred to as altmetrics, measure attention through social media and news platforms and can be a useful way to assess impact and reach beyond academia.

Metrics have played an important role in academia for many years, being used to assess individual researchers, the research they produce and, in the case of university rankings, the institutions themselves. However, there are concerns that metrics used can be flawed, and from these concerns arose the concept of Responsible Metrics, underpinned and defined by these criteria:

  • Metrics that are used must be supported by the best possible data, in terms of accuracy and scope.
  • Reviewers should recognise that quantitative evaluation should support, but not supplant, qualitative, expert assessment.
  • Data collection and analytical processes must be open and transparent, so that those being evaluated can test and verify the results.
  • To ensure that the processes of assessment are appropriate, variation for field of expertise and discipline should be considered, using a variety of indicators to support plurality of research and researchers at different stages of their careers.
  • Those responsible for research assessment should recognise and anticipate changes in the way in which metrics are produced and, as such, should monitor and regularly review their choice of metrics to ensure that they remain appropriate.

Statements of Commitment

The University of Dundee expresses its commitment to responsible and fair research assessment through its Statements of Commitment to: