May 14, 2019, by Rob Ounsworth

Introducing the Responsible Publication Metrics Working Group: how can you feed in?

By Katie Fraser

The Responsible Publication Metrics Working Group would like to invite academic staff and researchers at the University of Nottingham’s UK campuses to complete our survey on their experiences of publication metrics.

Following the announcement that the University signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) earlier this year, a working group made up of researchers and key Professional Services partners has been convened to consider its recommendations for the institution. This includes being explicit in the criteria used for hiring and highlighting both research content and the value and impact of all research publications.

Here are some thoughts from our working group representatives on why it is important that the University supports DORA and the move towards responsible metrics:

We love Dora logo

“After decades of well-founded criticism of metrics like ‘impact factor’, DORA may help turn the tide. I think we should stop outsourcing our thinking to companies who provide dodgy metrics, and find better ways of doing things ourselves.”
Dr Nicholas Holmes, Assistant Professor, School of Psychology

“DORA is part of the University’s commitment both to understanding the complexities of different disciplinary research ecologies and to fair and transparent assessment of research.”
Professor Lynda Pratt, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange, School of English

“All metrics in the evaluation of research are noisy and require careful interpretation. Relying on a few metrics for important decisions is likely to be a poor strategy.”
Professor John Gathergood, Professor of Economics, School of Economics

“As an early career researcher, explicit recruitment criteria around metrics is often vague or lacking, meaning hiring processes appear to be a black box. In the field of education, research outputs (e.g. educational resources, teacher development or facilitating institutional change) are not always best communicated or measured through traditional papers; any move to consider a broader range of outputs is most welcome.”
Dr Jonathan Halls, Early Career Representative

Find out more about the working group, including faculty and early career representatives.

We need your input

The group will be making recommendations about changes to University processes and some work has already begun mapping key processes using a structured consultation. The group now needs your input through this survey to better understand the way that processes featuring publication metrics are experienced by academics and researchers.

As well as updating University processes, integration of responsible metrics into everyday practice will take time and require cultural change. We can all contribute to this by paying attention to our own assumptions and habits.

  • What sort of questions do you ask your colleagues to better understand the value of a piece of research?
  • Might a journal’s Impact Factor affect your evaluation, explicitly or implicitly?

To support change, the group is discussing the production of practical guidance on alternative metrics and qualitative interpretations of research quality which can be used to view research and researchers more holistically.

Please contribute to the survey on experiences of publication metrics and encourage your colleagues to share their views too.

You are welcome to follow the group’s activities going forward at

Katie Fraser is a Senior Research Librarian

Posted in research