Responsible metrics

The Library Research Support Team provide guidance and assistance to the SHU research community on the use of publication and citation metrics (bibliometrics) and altmetrics.  However, quantitative research indicators are controversial and the shortcomings of these measures, and concerns about their responsible use, are discussed in the literature and more widely.

Our approach to the responsible use of these indicators follows the University’s guidance on Responsible metrics: a guide to research assessment and the use of quantitative indicators and draws on the good practice being recommended in the Leiden Manifesto,  The Metric Tide report and at other institutions.  This acts as a guide for our activities and informs our recommendations to the SHU community.

Responsible use of metrics advice:

  • Quantitative research indicators should support but not substitute for qualitative, expert assessment of research, such as peer review and expert opinion
  • Performance should be measured against the research missions, aims and objectives
  • Research analysis processes should be transparent and allow those evaluated to verify data and analysis
  • Account should be taken of variation in citation practice by research field, and of career path and career length
  • Assessment of individual researchers should be through a qualitative assessment of their portfolio
  • Misplaced concreteness and false precision should be avoided
  • A range of indicators should be used as no single indicator can provide an adequate picture
  • Sources of data should be acknowledged
  • The limitations and biases of any indicators used should be acknowledged
  • Efforts should be made to stay up to date with good practice and with developments in the indicators available