Responsible Metrics at Liverpool

The development of an institutional policy on the responsible use of metrics is underway.

The University of Liverpool is a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) which outlines several recommendations on how to improve research assessment.

As an institution, we have committed to:

  • being explicit about the criteria used to evaluate academic productivity;
  • recognising the value of all relevant research outputs (for example publications, datasets, software and arts practice outputs), as well as other types of contributions, such as for example training early-career researchers, influencing policy and practice and research impacts;
  • avoiding the use of journal-based metrics as individual or surrogate measures of the quality of research in decision-making for funding, appointing and promoting staff, and judging outputs based on their intrinsic merit.

Development of an institutional policy on the responsible use of metrics and its implementation plan is currently underway and is expected to be completed by April 2021. The Policy will set out the University’s approach to the use of metrics in research assessment and is being developed in consultation with our research community. The policy will be high-level and span across the whole institution.

Alongside the policy, an Implementation plan is also in preparation. We recognise that the research landscape differs between disciplines and therefore that practical guidelines might be tailored to suit each Faculty/School/Department. The plan will outline the actions needed to facilitate change in the use of metrics by staff at the University of Liverpool. These will include procedural changes where required and new or improved resources to aid responsible research assessment. The most important actions, however, will consist of training for all relevant staff to guide them through the new approaches, aid understanding and facilitate successful implementation.

The actions will span across four main categories to support unified adoption of the principles:

  1. Leadership
  2. Recruitment
  3. Internal staff assessment (incl. Personal Development Reviews and promotion)
  4. Training

The plan will be completed by July 2021, published internally and widely communicated. The implementation will start in August 2021 and will occur in two phases:

  • The first phase will focus on raising staff awareness and understanding of the Policy. All relevant staff will receive training on how to implement the Policy principles in hiring, career progression, promotion and funding decision.

(this will take up to 6 months)

  • Once the new processes are established internally, all remaining external-facing processes will be introduced (e.g. related to job advertisements). This is to avoid a conflict between the expectations of external candidates and University staff practices.

(latest in April 2022)

The Implementation plan will also include processes put in place for monitoring and reporting on progress in fulfilling the principles.

The project is sponsored by the Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for the Research Environment and Postgraduate Research, led by staff in the Open Research Team, and steered by an Advisory Group whose membership spans all faculties and career levels.

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