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Metrics & Impact Core

Learn about the mission and services of the MIC

Indicators for Measuring Research Impact

In an effort to understand the value of the outputs we produce, we look for ways to measure. Metrics help us do that. They help us understand how our work is advancing our field, how we are collaborating with others, and how it is being used in larger settings.

Best Practices for Metrics or Indicators:

  • Metrics should be easy to understand, open and transparent.
  • Different contexts may require different sets of metrics.
  • Metrics should not substitute for informed, qualitative assessment.
  • Those being evaluated with the use of metrics should be allowed to verify the data and the analysis of that data.
  • When selecting metrics, we need to account for variation in fields related to publication and citation practices.

Our commitment

The Metrics and Impact Core here at the Galter Health Sciences Library and Learning Center is committed to using metrics responsibly.  This group strives to keep abreast of changes in the metrics landscape and can assist in identifying metrics that can help you tell your research story.

The idea of using metrics responsibly has been discussed widely across academic circles and there are three well-known, bold statements on the topic.

  • The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) was developed in 2012 with the aim of raising the awareness of the responsible use of metrics, assisting in the development of new policies with regard to hiring and promotion, and helping to improve equity in academia.  To date over 2K organizations and more than 16K individuals have signed the DORA declaration in support of the 18 recommendations that it outlines. 
  • The Metric Tide is a framework that includes 20 recommendations that outline the successful use of metrics responsibly. The work on this statement was initialized in 2014 and finalized in 2015. In this report, the history of the use of research metrics are traced in the UK and across the globe, and they enumerate five dimensions that responsible metrics can be defined by: robustness, humility, transparency, diversity, and reflexivity.
  • Finally, The Leiden Manifesto outlines ten principles that speak to the importance of using metrics in a responsible fashion.  Named after the conference where the ideas were finalized, this 2015 document published in Nature recommends a combination of both quantitative and qualitative evaluation of research for proper assessment.

On the following pages, you will find information for each indicator, including definition, location, caveats, and demonstration of use. We have included indicators in the category that we believe to be its intended use; however we have provided information on alternative methods of use that we have seen out in the world.