Skip to main content

For more information on Responsible Metrics at Exeter, or if you are interested in joining the Responsible Metrics Champions Group, please contact:

Rebecca Euesden



Responsible Metrics

Responsible metrics

Responsible metrics


Metrics form part of an evolving and increasingly digital research environment, where data and analysis are important. However, when used in isolation, metrics can be easily misinterpreted resulting in misleading conclusions.

» Research not assessed fairly? Share your experience to help us improve our research culture.

There are a number of external drivers pushing the responsible metrics agenda forward including:

  1. The Forum for Responsible Metrics;
  2. The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA);
  3. The Leiden Manifesto
  4. The Metric Tide, and its more recent review, Harnessing the Metric Tide.

These initiatives ask for a commitment to improving the ways research is evaluated, and that the research quality of an output or the research performance of an individual should be assessed on its own merits and not on the reputation or ranking of the host publication.

We are committed to bringing about change to ensure metrics are used responsibly: we are a signatory to DORA and a Responsible Metrics Champions Group, chaired by Professor Rob Anderson, is working to identify how we can ensure this important agenda is adopted across the University, considering:

1) Responsible metrics policies;
2) Insitutional Human Resources policies and processes, through our Exeter Academic Review;
3) Research strategy;
4) Culture, development and advocacy.

Read our blog post to find out more about responsible metrics and the work of the Champions Group to date. 


The University of Exeter have a set of Responsible Metrics Guiding Principles which reflect what we believe all colleagues should consider when using metrics, or indicators, for assessment. These were developed by the Responsible Metrics Champions Group, with wider consultation and on behalf of the Research Impact Executive Committee, chaired by the DVC Research and Impact.

These principles are designed to help everyone to consider if and how metrics, or indicators, should be used for a range of different scenarios. They are not intended to provide specific guidance for individual circumstances, but should be used in conjunction with expert judgement and our metrics/indicators guidance which will be published in the coming months.

As a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), we enourage all colleagues involved in research and research management to familiarise themselves with these principles. 

Read the University of Exeter's Responsible Metrics Guiding Principles

Indicators Guidance 

Our indicators guidance is designed to supplement our Guiding Principles to help you navigate the use of indicators or metrics in a responsible way, either when assessing others’ research, or to understand how your research should be assessed responsibly. Indicators should never be used in isolation and we encourage a pluralistic approach to generate a well-rounded assessment which complies with responsible metrics principles. We encourage the use of qualitative indicators alongside quantitative indicators to strengthen and clarify the interpretation of findings. A range of indicators are listed in tab 2, along with the benefits and considerations of each, and whether each indicator could be used responsibly dependent on whether you are assessing a person, group, publication or journal.

Download Indicators Guidance

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment have since produced their own guidance in this area: Guidance on the Responsible Use of Quantitative Indicators in Research Assessment 

Assessors Promotion Guidance 

We have developed guidance to help ensure that those involved in promoting and recruiting to Associate Professor and Professor roles are using the most appropriate information on which to base decisions. 

See Responsible Metrics - Assessors Guide Jan 24

‌Why shouldn't I use the h-index?

The h-index is a ratio measure which looks at the number of citations a researcher has received over a period of time. ‚ÄčThis document tells you why we believe the h-index is not a responsible metric for assessment of individuals or groups.‌

Further resources available from the Declaration on Research Assessment (DoRA)

Through project TARA, DoRA have created a repository of policies and practices to help others develop responsible research assessment practices within their organisation. 

For more information on Responsible Metrics at Exeter, or if you are interested in joining the Responsible Metrics Champions Group, please contact:

Rebecca Euesden