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Funders using bibliometrics should keep it simple

Experience shows that avoiding information overload is crucial if measures are to inform grant decisions, say Salil Gunashekar and Sue Guthrie.

Assessment panels make extensive use of bibliometrics as an evaluation tool to assist their decisions on research funding. In the UK, the Research Excellence Framework uses bibliometric data to inform its assessments. And the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has employed bibliometric analysis alongside wider information in several awarding panels for major funding schemes.

What is less clear, however, is just how these panels use bibliometric information, and what impact it has on the decision-making process. This lack of understanding may be one reason for the scepticism and cynicism about the value of metrics among some researchers.

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