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Exploring researchers' views on Metrics and research impact: Internal report

Research excellence is a goal that universities and researchers alike strive for, but how do we identify and measure research excellence? Do quantitative metrics demonstrate the impact that researchers are aiming for? This report details the results of an exploratory case study investigating how researchers responded to a range of quantitative metrics. As a part of their approach, the project team interviewed thirteen academic staff at the University of Waikato across a range of disciplines. A thematic analysis of the interviews was carried out, bringing to light eight dominant themes from the participants’ discussions: • No one-size fits all - impact and excellence varies greatly across disciplines and matter more to some disciplines than others • Lack of understanding of metrics and reliance on h-index • Metrics are subjective and can be gamed • A general nervousness around metrics or disdain, especially for Altmetrics • Cultural considerations and the importance of the collective • Disconnect between what they value and what they think their peers value • Publishing decisions are driven by a diverse range of factors • Varying levels of importance in getting research out into the public including OA This paper argues that metrics can be used as a tool for researchers, but should be understood in the context of non-quantitative measures. Metrics alone cannot determine how impactful a researcher’s contribution may be. It is important for researchers to be recognised as individuals in order for them to tell the story of their work. This will require upskilling both for researchers and those who evalu-ate research.
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The University of Waikato