In the UK and elsewhere, agendas for responsible research and innovation (RRI) continue to gather momentum. But it can be hard to align demands for responsibility with other pressures on the modern university: ever more intense audit and evaluation of public investment; competition within and between institutions for prestige, students, staff and resources; and an explosion of metrics and league tables to benchmark institutional performance, research qualities and impacts.
Some of the most precious qualities of academic culture resist simple quantification, yet poorly designed evaluation criteria are all too often ‘dominating minds, distorting behaviour and determining careers’ (Lawrence 2007). As university and research leaders, how can we create measurement and management systems that are more supportive of responsibility, diversity and integrity?
Drawing on his 2015 review of research metrics for the UK government, and reflecting on his new role chairing a European Commission panel on metrics for open science, James Wilsdon will outline a framework for responsible metrics, and explore the prospects for advancing this through the current round of reforms to UK higher education and research. In particular, he will consider post-Stern reforms to the REF, plans for the second phase of the TEF, and the establishment of the new umbrella funding body, UK Research and Innovation.