Responsible Use of Metrics

Statement on the responsible use of research metrics in UCD

University College Dublin (UCD) is committed to a research environment founded on our values of excellence, creativity, integrity, collegiality, engagement and diversity, in which every member is supported to achieve their full potential.

Research is assessed by a number of mechanisms, both within the university and by external bodies that review the university and our researchers. The results are used to drive excellence, to support development, to inform funding decisions and to provide assurance to stakeholders. This assessment can take place at institutional, group/unit and individual levels. It can involve both qualitative and quantitative evaluation. Both of these categories have advantages and disadvantages, and neither provides on its own a full assessment of research performance. They are often used as complementary inputs by an expert and engaged assessor or assessment panel.

We are committed to ensuring that our research assessment procedures in UCD are fair, transparent and robust. To this end, assessment of research in UCD will include qualitative evaluation involving peer review as well as research metrics. Both elements will be used to inform our academic recruitment, tenure and promotions processes, in development conversations, in internal competitive funding decisions and in quality reviews of our academic units.

In keeping with the responsible metrics agenda:

  • We will be explicit about the criteria used to evaluate research performance.
  • Research metrics will be used to support, but not supplant, qualitative expert assessment.
  • We will not use Journal Impact Factors as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles.
  • We will take into account the many different dimensions of research, and also the variation across disciplines.
  • We will recognise in our assessment the value of all relevant research outputs (such as datasets, software and creative works as well as publications) and other types of contributions, such as training early-career researchers and influencing policy and practice.

Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will be evident in how we use research metrics, recognising that many factors may impact upon an individual’s research performance and/or research metrics, including career stage, career breaks, statutory leaves and part-time working, and reflecting the UCD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the University’s ten equality grounds.

The statement was informed by the following sources of best practice guidance:

The Working Group on the Responsible Use of Research Metrics will oversee the next steps in the implementation of these principles, reporting to the Research, Innovation and Impact Group (RIIG) of the University Management Team. Research assessment strategies and procedures will be kept under review by the RIIG, reflecting their importance to UCD and our research community.