Citations, journal impact factors, H-indices, even tweets and Facebook likes - there are no end of quantitive measures that can now be used to assess the quality and wider impacts of research. But how robust and reliable are such indicators, and what weight - if any - should we give them in the management of the UKs' research system?
Over the past year, the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management has looked in detail at these questions. The review has explored the use of metrics across the full range of academic disciplines, and assessed their potential contribution to processes of research assessment like the REF. It has looked at how universities themselves use metrics, at the rise of league tables and rankings, at the relationship between metrics and issues of equality and diversity, and at the potential for 'gaming' that can arise from the use of particular indicators in the funding system.
The review's final report, The Metric Tide, was published on 9 July 2015. James Wilsdon, who chairs the review, will outline its findings, and propose a more responsible agenda for the use of metrics in research management and policy. A discussion on the implications of Professor Wilsdon's talk will be hosted by Professor Jem Bendell, Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS), University of Cumbria.