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Use of metrics threatens researcher diversity

Using metrics to measure the performance of academics could limit the diversity of the UK’s research base, a review of metrics in research assessment has heard.

“We have to make sure that any new measure doesn’t replicate existing biases,” said Ruth Gilligan, an Athena SWAN adviser in the Equality Challenge Unit, at a workshop on 2 December as part of the review.

Jenny Saul, a philosopher at the University of Sheffield, said researchers and funders should be particularly wary of using citations as a guide to quality: “We know citations are dramatically affected by gender, and there’s good reason to show this is to do with implicit bias.”

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