Evaluating university research performance using metrics

Linda Butler*, Ian McAllister

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Evaluations of research quality in universities are now widely used in the advanced economies. The UK's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which began in 1986, is the most highly developed of these research evaluations. Based on peer review and involving some sixty-nine panels evaluating the research work of more than 50,000 academic staff, the exercise is expensive and time consuming. In this article, we examine the possibility that a quantitative, metrics-based approach can provide a low-cost alternative to expensive, qualitative peer review. To do this, we build on our previous work on political science by extending a metrics-based model to chemistry, using the results of the 2001 RAE. Our results show that no single model will apply across science and non-science disciplines. Any metrics approach to performance evaluation has to use a discipline-specific suite of indicators.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-58
    Number of pages15
    JournalEuropean Political Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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