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Responsible metrics

Northumbria University is committed to developing a responsible and fair approach to the evaluation of research performance, and the measurement of research impact. 

Demonstrating this commitment, in 2021 Northumbria became a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). DORA is a worldwide initiative, covering all scholarly disciplines and stakeholders in the research process, encouraging individuals and organisations to develop and promote best practice in the assessment of scholarly research. By signing DORA, we commit ourselves to implement a broad range of recommendations, including: 

  • Not using journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.
  • Being explicit about the criteria used to reach hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions, clearly highlighting, especially for early-stage investigators, that the scientific content of a paper is much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it was published.
  • For the purposes of assessing the quality of research, to consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets and software) in addition to research publications, and consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.

The full DORA statement also includes recommendations for research funders, researchers, publishers and metrics suppliers that we must also consider in our activities. 

To ensure the recommendations of DORA are implemented at Northumbria, and to further develop a culture of good practice around research evaluation, the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee has sponsored the creation of a Responsible Metrics Working Group, chaired by Professor Clare Watt. This group, which includes representatives from across the University’s academic faculties and professional services, will review practice across the University and develop an action plan to raise awareness of good practice, develop guidance, and improve understanding of responsible metrics across the University.

For more information about our work to implement responsible metrics practice at Northumbria University, please contact Ellen Cole (ellen.s.cole@northumbria.ac.uk), Research Culture and Quality Manager, Research and Innovation Services.


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