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Responsible research assessment

The University of Groningen has approved principles to promote the responsible assessment of research. The points below summarize evaluation practices to avoid and positive alternatives to adopt in research assessment, and in the recruitment, recognition and reward of researchers.

These principles are intended for all UG members who are involved in the assessment of researchers, research proposals or research units, as well as for those who are the subject of such assessments.

Practices to avoid
  • Avoid “quick and dirty” assessment of research based solely on narrow quantitative metrics such as journal name, JIF, h-index, or number of publications and raw citation counts taken in isolation.
  • Do not use metrics designed to evaluate journals as a surrogate measure of article quality or in hiring and promotion decisions.
  • Do not rank based on insignificant decimal places.
  • Do not take a lack of available quantitative data as an indicator of performance.

Responsible practices
  • When assessing researchers, consider individual differences and highlights from their entire portfolio of activities and contributions.
  • When using metrics, make sure to:
    - balance quantitative assessment with expert peer-review,
    - use more than one metric to ensure robustness,
    - use normalized metrics to account for field, date and output type,
    - account for years active in academia when assessing ECRs.
  • If research metrics are used in recruitment, promotion, nominations or other processes, clearly outline this in application documents.

When choosing to use research metrics, the selected metrics and their application should comply with the points above, and the principles they are based on. For further information, please consult the resources below.

About the principles

The Responsible Research Assessment principles are aligned with the most important international and national best practices, including:

The initiative to create these principles was led by the Research & Impact Cluster of University Services and Research Intelligence Services (RISe). In co-creating the principles, they were assisted by the University Committee for Academic Practice (UCW), UG Expert Network for Research Analytics (ENRA), HR, Young Academy Groningen (YAG), and the Recognition and Rewards Workgroup which have all provided valuable input and feedback.

Nine responsible research assessment principles
  1. Research performance metrics should be used to support, not replace qualitative or peer assessment.
  2. Measure performance against the mission of the research institute, or the specific aims and ambitions of the group or researcher.
  3. Keep research assessment data and analysis open and transparent.
  4. Provide information on the strengths and weaknesses of metrics and select metrics that are fit for purpose
  5. Be mindful of the nature of different disciplines and variation in research practices
  6. When assessing researchers, consider individual differences and highlights from their entire portfolio of activities and contributions
  7. Avoid misplaced concreteness and false precision
  8. Avoid research assessment practices which introduce bias
  9. Ensure that metrics are used in a responsible and expert manner at the UG

Each of the nine principles is explained in more detail in the full text of the Responsible Research Assessment Principles [PDF].

Guidance for hiring, evaluations and award panels

To support the practical implementation of the Responsible research assessment principles, we have developed Guidance for hiring, evaluations and award panels [PDF].

Photo dr. Ana Ranitovic

Do you have a question or would like to give us your feedback? Contact dr Ana Ranitovic, Coordinator Societal Impact, Research Intelligence Services.

Last modified:19 April 2024 3.30 p.m.
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