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Forum for Responsible Metrics

​A group of research funders, sector bodies and infrastructure experts are working in partnership to promote the responsible use of research metrics. 

9th February 2017: 

Metrics in REF2021: Advice from the UK Forum for Responsible Research Metrics:​ The Forum for Responsible Research Metrics has produced advice for the UK HE Funding Bodies on the use of quantitative indicators in the assessment of outputs in REF2021 (with further discussion planned later for assessment of impact and environments). This advice is given in response to questions circulated by HEFCE as a basis for discussion at the Forum's first meeting.​

What are 'responsible metrics'?

Metrics form part of an evolving and increasingly digital research environment, where data and analysis are playing an ever greater role. However, the current description, production and use of these metrics are experimental and open to misunderstanding, and can lead to negative effects and behaviours as well as positive ones.

Responsible metrics can be defined by the following key principles:

  • Robustness – basing metrics on the best possible data in terms of accuracy and scope
  • Humility – recognising that quantitative evaluation should support, but not supplant, qualitative, expert assessment
  • Transparency –that those being evaluated can test and verify the results
  • Diversity – accounting for variation by research field, and using a range of indicators to reflect and support a plurality of research and researcher career paths across the system
  • Reflexivity – recognising and anticipating the systemic and potential effects of indicators, and updating them in response  

About the Forum for Responsible Metrics

The Forum for Responsible Metrics will develop a programme of activities to support the responsible use of research metrics in higher education institutions and across the research community in the UK. This will include advice on, and work to improve, the data infrastructure that underpins metric use.

The forum will offer advice to the UK higher education funding bodies on how quantitative indicators might be used in assessing research outputs and environments, as part of the funding bodies' consultation on arrangements for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise.

In this way, the whole research community can benefit from the more judicious use of metrics. 

Who is involved with the Forum for Responsible metrics?

The forum is a partnership between the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Research Councils UK, the Wellcome Trust, Universities UK and Jisc.

The forum is chaired by Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research), University College London (UCL). Its members are representatives and experts from university management, academic leadership, research administration and research metrics.

The five partners recognise the wide interest in this work and expect to contact and involve other stakeholders in their discussions. Regular updates will be posted on this web page.

Blogs

Research misconduct: how universities are addressing the issue

30 March 2017
Jamie Arrowsmith, Programme Manager at Universities UK, discusses the progress universities have made in addressing research misconduct.

Funders and universities must work together to build international partnerships

15 March 2017
Ahead of UUK's International Higher Education Forum, Ed Whiting from Wellcome Trust discusses the importance of global research partnerships.

The team

Jamie Arrowsmith

Jamie Arrowsmith

Programme Manager
Universities UK

Max Hastings

Max Hastings

Policy Researcher
Universities UK

Martina Tortis

Martina Tortis

Policy Analyst
Universities UK