Responsible metrics

The University of St Andrews is committed to the pivotal role that peer review and expert judgement plays in the assessment of research, but also recognises the value that the responsible use of metrics can play in complementing and supporting decision-making.  

set of principles for the use of indicators in research assessment and management has been developed by the University’s Open Research Working Group directed by the Research Committee and in consultation with the Academic Schools. As part of the implementation of these principles, the University has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

DORA's recommendations call for institutions not to use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles when assessing researchers' contributions in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions. It encourages universities, researchers and others to assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research was published and highlights the need to capitalise on the opportunities provided by new formats and channels for publications.

"The University of St Andrews is committed to producing world-leading research. By approving this set of principles and signing up to DORA, we are demonstrating to our researchers that we recognise the need to use indicators responsibly in all aspects of research assessment and management, and that, in particular, we value research wherever it is published and whatever form it takes."

Professor Tom Brown
Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation

"It is essential that the way we use metrics in any assessment or process is clear, fair and transparent to all colleagues. Signing up to DORA is a positive step in the right direction and will serve as a framework to ensure we employ high standards and best practice in this important area."

Professor Andrew Smith
Director of Research, School of Chemistry

"These principles and signing up to DORA are an important milestone in the implementation of our open research roadmap and it has been encouraging that all academic schools have supported this step."

Anna Clements
former Head of Digital Research

University principles

  • Expertise 
    Any use of indicators can only inform and not override expert judgement.

  • Diversity
    Any use of indicators must take differences between disciplines and career stages, or related to equality and diversity, into account. 

  • Data
    Any use of indicators should be underpinned by data that is reliable, statistically valid, multi-faceted and its limitations understood.

  • Integrity
    Any use of indicators must abide by research integrity standards and follow the University's Principles of Good Research Conduct.

  • Transparency
    Any use of indicators must be clearly understood by those being assessed, with the methodologies and data available where possible.

The principles were developed by the Open Research Working Group on behalf of the Research Committee, with consultation taking place with Schools during the summer of 2019. To read the University principles in full see the principles for the use of indicators in research assessment and management.

A working group is taking forward the implementation of the principles and the DORA recommendations, and will report regularly to the Open Research Working Group and Research, Impact and Innovation Committee.