Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How institutions can do better on research assessment exercises

Steve Hitchcock, Why repository mandates, research assessment and metrics are connected, Eprints Insiders, January 3, 2007.  Excerpt:

So you have a new institutional repository, or are planning one, or have an under-used IR and want to make it used by all researchers in the institution. How do you do it? First, you need an institutional mandate, requiring all papers published by your researchers be deposited in the IR. Second, you use the IR for evaluation exercises: in the UK and Australia, for example, these might be used as a tool for submitting to the RAE and RQF research assessments. As a carrot, you tell researchers they can enhance the impact of their work by self-archiving their papers in the IR.

OK, so you know about these already, and they require decisions at the highest level of the institution. There is no escape from that, but here is another approach. Tie these issues - mandates, evaluation and metrics - together, as Stevan Harnad did recently.

"There is now a natural synergy growing between OA self-archiving, IRs, OA self-archiving mandates, and the online "metrics" toward which both the RAE/RQF and research evaluation in general are moving.  Each institution's IR is the natural place from which to derive and display research performance indicators: publication counts, citation counts, download counts, and many new metrics, rich and diverse ones, that will be mined from the OA corpus, making research evaluation much more open, sensitive to diversity, adapted to each discipline, predictive, and equitable.  OA Self-Archiving not only allows performance indicators (metrics) to be collected and displayed, and new metrics to be developed...."

It may be necessary for IR managers to make [administrators] aware of this simple fact: the institution will do better in the assessment exercises in 2009 and beyond with an IR and a mandate than without.