The Only Substitute for Metrics is Better Metrics

Comment on: Mryglod, Olesya, Ralph Kenna, Yurij Holovatch and Bertrand Berche (2014) Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology. LSE Impact Blog 12(6)

The man who is ready to prove that metaphysical knowledge is wholly impossible? is a brother metaphysician with a rival theory? Bradley, F. H. (1893) Appearance and Reality

The topic of using metrics for research performance assessment in the UK has a rather long history, beginning with the work of Charles Oppenheim.

The solution is neither to abjure metrics nor to pick and stick to one unvalidated metric, whether it?s the journal impact factor or the h-index.

The solution is to jointly test and validate, field by field, a battery of multiple, diverse metrics (citations, downloads, links, tweets, tags, endogamy/exogamy, hubs/authorities, latency/longevity, co-citations, co-authorships, etc.) against a face-valid criterion (such as peer rankings).

      See also: “On Metrics and Metaphysics” (2008)

Oppenheim, C. (1996). Do citations count? Citation indexing and the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 9(2), 155-161.

Oppenheim, C. (1997). The correlation between citation counts and the 1992 research assessment exercise ratings for British research in genetics, anatomy and archaeology. Journal of documentation, 53(5), 477-487.

Oppenheim, C. (1995). The correlation between citation counts and the 1992 Research Assessment Exercise Ratings for British library and information science university departments. Journal of Documentation, 51(1), 18-27.

Oppenheim, C. (2007). Using the h-index to rank influential British researchers in information science and librarianship. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(2), 297-301.

Harnad, S. (2001) Research access, impact and assessment. Times Higher Education Supplement 1487: p. 16.

Harnad, S. (2003) Measuring and Maximising UK Research Impact. Times Higher Education Supplement. Friday, June 6 2003

Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003) Mandated online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives: Improving the UK Research Assessment Exercise whilst making it cheaper and easier. Ariadne 35.

Hitchcock, Steve; Woukeu, Arouna; Brody, Tim; Carr, Les; Hall, Wendy and Harnad, Stevan. (2003) Evaluating Citebase, an open access Web-based citation-ranked search and impact discovery service Technical Report, ECS, University of Southampton.

Harnad, S. (2004) Enrich Impact Measures Through Open Access Analysis. British Medical Journal BMJ 2004; 329:

Harnad, S. (2006) Online, Continuous, Metrics-Based Research Assessment. Technical Report, ECS, University of Southampton.  

Brody, T., Harnad, S. and Carr, L. (2006) Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact. Journal of the American Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) 57(8) pp. 1060-1072.

Brody, T., Carr, L., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Time to Convert to Metrics. Research Fortnight 17-18.

Brody, T., Carr, L., Gingras, Y., Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Incentivizing the Open Access Research Web: Publication-Archiving, Data-Archiving and Scientometrics. CTWatch Quarterly 3(3).

Harnad, S. (2008) Validating Research Performance Metrics Against Peer Rankings. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8 (11) doi:10.3354/esep00088 The Use And Misuse Of Bibliometric Indices In Evaluating Scholarly Performance

Harnad, S. (2008) Self-Archiving, Metrics and Mandates. Science Editor 31(2) 57-59

Harnad, S., Carr, L. and Gingras, Y. (2008) Maximizing Research Progress Through Open Access Mandates and Metrics. Liinc em Revista 4(2).

Harnad, S. (2009) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise. Scientometrics 79 (1) Also in Proceedings of 11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics 11(1), pp. 27-33, Madrid, Spain. Torres-Salinas, D. and Moed, H. F., Eds. (2007)

Harnad, S. (2009) Multiple metrics required to measure research performance. Nature (Correspondence) 457 (785) (12 February 2009)

Harnad, S; Carr, L; Swan, A; Sale, A & Bosc H. (2009) Maximizing and Measuring Research Impact Through University and Research-Funder Open-Access Self-Archiving Mandates. Wissenschaftsmanagement 15(4) 36-41