Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK, currently at the Society for Academic Primary Care annual conference
Measuring research impact fascinates academics and editors alike. We are all searching for the optimum metric to reflect research quality. Most of us are familiar with impact factors, citations and other individual measures like the h-index. But, what if your academic esteem and departmental funding depended on external assessment? In a mini symposium at the Society of Primary Care meeting in Oxford, entitled “ How can research impact be measured?” Professor Paul Little told us about the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the UK which is set up to measure the value of research in a national and international context on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council.
The REF has gone through a number of iterations but the key factor on this occasion, was that while output remains the dominant influence, “impact” was the new driver. ...continue reading