I’m genuinely at a loss to describe how good The Metric Tide is. Something that could so easily have been a clunky and breathless paean to the oversold benefits of big data is nuanced, thoughtful and packed with evidence. Read it. Seriously, take it to the beach this summer. It’s that good.”
The Metric Tide provides a balanced and sensible perspective on the value metrics can bring to merit systems...It has been our consistent position that quantitative data inform, but do not and should not ever replace, peer review judgments of research quality – whether in the REF, or for any other purpose. Metrics can support human judgment and contribute to a fully rounded view on a research question being asked.
The Metric Tide is a must-read if you are interested in having a deeper understanding of research culture, management issues and the range of information we have on this field. It should be disseminated and discussed within institutions, disciplines and other sites of research collaboration.
Scientists like to grumble about the peer-review system for judging research quality, but there is one sure way to make most of them defend it: suggest that peer review should be replaced with numerical measures of academic output. A major UK report, The Metric Tide, reinforces this defence of the status quo. Metrics, it concludes, are not yet ready to replace peer review as the preferred way to judge research papers, proposals and individuals.
The Metric Tide represents the culmination of an 18-month-long project that aims to be the definitive review of this important topic. Accompanied by a scholarly literature review, some new analysis, and a wealth of evidence and insight...the report is a tour de force; a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take stock.
We strongly endorse the conclusions of the The Metric Tide.
We’ve just put down our virtual copies of The Metric Tide, a report compiled by an expert panel of academics, scientometricians, and university administrators on the role of bibliometrics and altmetrics in research assessment (including the UK’s next REF).
The report takes a middle line, but not simply a lazy middle ground. Its title, The Metric Tide, is an unequivocal statement that more data, and most likely more measurement, is coming our way. The data is not yet good enough to rely on in general, and it may never be, but pretending the tide isn’t rising won’t make it go away. So the report calls for engagement, but not passive acceptance. It calls for responsible use of indicators, for a critical engagement with what they can and can’t do, what they are and aren’t good for, and for applying them in context.
A major report published this week describes a “metric tide” that has washed over universities in recent years...In essence, it concludes that metrics are not, in fact, the work of the devil – as is so often the case, it’s how they are used that is key, with contextual information being vitally important (in the research excellence framework, for instance, metrics were used as background for panels that wanted it, but never as the sole criterion for judgement).
It is time for a critical conversation to take place about the use and abuse of metrics. Despite The Metric Tide’s chilling preface, announcing a “new barbarity” in our universities, we continue to witness the misuse of metrics as a tool of management in UK higher education... Universities should proceed with caution, then, lest metrics should spread like a digital Himalayan Balsam and undermine the ethical architecture of universities.
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics welcomes The Metric Tide as a valuable contribution to the development and review of the assessment of academic research. The report provides a thoughtful analysis of the effects of the use of metrics on different aspects of research culture.
The Metric Tide means that we really are in a stronger position to say no to simple metrics. Which in many ways is regrettable.
This very thoughtful review, which consulted widely in the academic community, gives us a sound basis for the responsible use of metrics in research management. Metrics need to be transparent and carefully chosen, and should always supplement and support expert judgement, rather than replace it.
By far the most thorough bit of work I’ve seen on the topic. It was written by a group, chaired by James Wilsdon, to investigate the possible role of metrics in the assessment of research…There is the inevitable bit of talk about the "judicious" use of metrics to support peer review (with no guidance about what judicious use means in real life) but this doesn’t detract much from an excellent and thorough job.
This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.