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It is increasingly important for researchers to measure the impact of their research. This can be achieved through bibliometrics, which is the statistical analysis of written publications used to provide a measurable analysis of academic literature, usually at journal or author level. Examples of bibliometrics include Journal Impact Factor (JIF), H-index, and citation analysis. Altmetrics are a new way of measuring impact at article level.


Responsible metrics

As it says in the University's Office of Scholarly Communication Research Support Handy Guide on Responsible Metrics metrics are used to measure many things in academia, from individual researchers to entire institutions. These numerical measures were originally developed to help librarians make informed decisions about stock selection but their use has evolved to include major decisions for researchers such as who will be hired and which journal they should aim to publish in. There are concerns that the metrics used to make such important decisions were not designed for these uses and so are not fit for purpose. Many researchers are also concerned that the emphasis being placed on metrics means that more importance is being put on where work is published that the quality of the research itself.

The University of Cambridge is now a signatory of DORA (San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment). DORA recognizes the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated. These outputs are many and varied, including but not limited to, research articles, reviews, book, monographs, data, reagents, software, intellectual property. While institutions and funders need to be able to assess the quality and impact of research outputs, it is imperative that this is measured accurately and evaluated wisely. There is a need to establish well founded and academically supported criteria for evaluating primary research and other indicators of research, that transparently inform hiring, probation and promotion policies across the University. The University has established a DORA implementation working group to develop a framework for guiding the assessment of research output that can be adopted by the University.

The Metrics Toolkit can help you navigate the research metrics landscape. You can use the toolkit to explore the metrics dashboard to learn more about specific metrics, and what they do and do not measure. You can also choose the right metrics for demonstrating your research impact or evaluating impact of specific outputs.