This guide collects guidance for authors and research managers as to Durham University's approach to using publication & citation metrics as research indicators at an institutional level, and recognising the importance of using such indicators responsibly.
Various Research Indicators, or metrics, are used to 'measure' the impact of a researcher, their outputs, or the outputs of an organisational unit (research group, department, Institute or University). Many institutions use them in recruitment, probation, promotion or other processes. Many researchers use them to make important decisions, such as where to publish their work. They also form part of the calculations used in university rankings.
Durham University's Policy and Statement recognise that the use of quantitative measures have a place and a value in research assessment, but advocates for an accountable approach to their use alongside other measure, to provide a more rounded picture of 'research impact'.
A University statement of principles, and a University policy on responsible metrics were opened up to a University-wide consultation in September 2018:
Our policy and statement on the responsible metrics set out Durham's approach to the use of metrics and indicators for the purposes or research assessment.
"The University ... recognises that improperly used metrics can reinforce existing biases that impinge on the University’s mission to enhance diversity and equality amongst its academic staff, and it is important that they are used with due awareness of their limitations."
"The statement outlines the University's approach to the responsible use of metrics. It builds on the ten Principles for responsible research evaluation contained within the Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics"
Agreeing a Policy and Statement on the responsible use of metrics is just the start. In November 2019, University Research Management Committee and University Provost Board agreed to re-establishing the University Metrics Working Group under the remit of the Deputy to the Vice Provost (Research), with the following recommendations:
DORA implementation and consultation timetable.
In July 2015, The Metric Tide: Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management outlined five keys areas to inform the responsible use of metrics:
The report made a number of recommendations to UK HEIs, including to;
The full agreement can be found here.
Two key principles for DORA institutions include:
On 16th October 2018, University Senate approved the proposal that the University became a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DoRA), whilst "noting the importance of monographs in particular academic disciplines."
On 8th November 2018, Professor Claire Warwick, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) signed DoRA on behalf of Durham University.
To support researchers and managers, five experts led by Diana Hicks, professor in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Paul Wouters, director of CWTS at Leiden University, proposed 10 principles for the measurement of research performance: the Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics published as a comment in Nature.
The Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics from Diana Hicks on Vimeo.