Category: research assessment

For the sake of all involved, we should stop the REF clock

Emily Yarrow and Julie Davies argue any benefits of the current March 31st submission date for REF2021 should not outweigh the human costs to the academics and staff currently working to achieve this deadline. The UK is in the midst of the worst health and financial crises for several generations and the REF deadline of … Continued

Four guiding principles for choosing frameworks and indicators to assess research impact

Selecting a framework for assessing research impact can be difficult, especially for interdisciplinary studies and research in fields that do not have established forms impact assessment. In this post, Elena Louder, Carina Wyborn, Christopher Cvitanovic, Angela T. Bednarek, outline four principles for researchers designing impact assessment criteria for their work and suggest how a closer … Continued

For China’s ambitious research reforms to be successful, they will need to be supported by new research assessment infrastructures

The Chinese government recently announced that research assessment in China should no longer be predominantly focused on metrics, Web of Science based indicators and what has become known as ‘SCI worship’. In this post Lin Zhang and Gunnar Sivertsen discuss how China’s new research policy might be implemented and the parallels it has to recent attempts to reform … Continued

To ensure the quality of peer reviewed research introduce randomness

Journals play an important role in signalling the quality of academic research. This quality is often linked to measures such as the journal impact factor. However, these measures often obscure the overall quality of research papers in a journal. In this post, Margit Osterloh and Bruno Frey argue that the overall quality and originality of … Continued

Generating impact in the absence of government: Northern Ireland’s unlevel playing field

Impact assessment regimes are largely a-spatial, in that they assume that the academics they assess have equal access and opportunities to influence at different scales, local, regional, national, international etc, regardless of where they are located. Taking the example of Northern Ireland, Dr Vanessa Gstrein and Maria Prince explore how the lack of a functioning … Continued

2019 In Review: Metrics and research assessment

As governments increasingly look to national research systems as important inputs into the ‘knowledge economy’, developing ways to assess and understand their performance has become focus for policy and critique. This post brings together some of the top posts on research metrics and assessment that appeared on the LSE Impact Blog in 2019. Working to the rule – How bibliometric […]

Working to the rule – How bibliometric targets distorted Italian research

As Goodhart’s law states: ‘when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure’. Using bibliometrics to measure and assess researchers has become increasingly common, but does implementing these policies therefore devalue the metrics they are based on? In this post Alberto Baccini, Giuseppe De Nicolao and Eugenio Petrovich, present evidence from a study of Italian researchers […]

What’s in a name? How false author affiliations are damaging academic research

When reading a research paper, can you be certain that the institution the author claims to be affiliated with is actually the institution that was responsible for supporting the research? In this post Vivienne C. Bachelet presents findings from a recent study suggesting that a significant proportion of author affiliations are unverifiable. Highlighting how a lack of editorial guidance in […]

The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The applicability of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the social sciences has been widely questioned. However, assessing the effectiveness of RCTs, in practice has proved difficult. In this post, Naila Kabeer reflects on her recent research into randomised control trials utilised as part of a programme to alleviate poverty in West Bengal and highlights how, when RCTs are used in […]

Grimpact – Time to acknowledge the dark side of the impact agenda

A critical blind spot in the impact agenda has been that impact is understood and defined solely in positive terms. In this post Gemma Derrick and Paul Benneworth introduce the concept of ‘Grimpact’, to describe instances where research negatively impacts society, and argue that the implicit optimism of research assessment has rendered researchers and science systems poorly equipped to deal […]