Responsible use of research metrics at Nottingham

University of Nottingham UK is a proud signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). Our university aims to nurture the highest quality research, recognising and valuing the intrinsic merit of research over and above its publication channel, journal metrics, or publisher.

After signing DORA in January 2019, a working group convened to consider how to embed the responsible use of publication metrics as indicators into our policy and practice, resulting in the principles below and a toolkit including the Publication Checklist, training and e-resources.


University of Nottingham Principles for Responsible Indicator Use

  1. Transparency

    1. Make processes transparent as to whether and how indicators will be used, including their calculation.
    2. Give researchers the opportunity to verify their data.
      A route for researchers to verify their data should be identified where possible. This may involve releasing the data underpinning decisions, identifying data sources and indicators which will be used plus guidance on updating / correcting them, or asking researchers to source and submit data for review themselves.
  2. Context

    1.  Value the intrinsic merit of a work over the publication channel, its journal metrics, or the publisher, especially during recruitment and promotion.
      This principle deliberately reflects the wording of both DORA and Plan S.
    2. If combining indicators with peer review and expert / qualitative assessment ensure they support rather than supplant it.
  3. Robustness

    1. Choose the most appropriate combination of indicators and other measures.
      With an ‘appropriate’ combination of indicators and others measures defined as those relating to the goals of the research unit (institution, faculty, group etc.), measuring desired properties with reasonable fidelity, and using a ‘basket’ of indicators and other measures which compensate for each other’s weaknesses.
    2. Avoid false concreteness and precision.
      For example, reporting indicators to multiple decimal places to differentiate between very similar outcomes.
    3.  Review and update indicators to a defined schedule, recognising any unintended systemic effects of assessment.
  4. Diversity

    1. Respect diversity of disciplines, career stages and backgrounds.
    2. Contextualise citation impact.
    3. Value publication types other than journal articles.
      Including monographs, conference papers, research data, pre-prints, working papers and other research outputs.
    4. Compensate for limitations in coverage of sources of publication data.
      Common limitations are omission of newer and older outputs, unindexed publication venues and outputs of regional interest or written in languages other than English.
  5. Culture and awareness

    1. Promote accessible training on indicators and examples of good practice.
      Visit our responsible indicators toolkit for information on scheduled training.

    2. Define an institutional route for querying indicator use.
      Please email to query any indicator use which may not be in line with these principles.

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