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A “basket of metrics”—the best support for understanding journal merit

Issue: 41(3) August 2015. Original articles Pages 61 – 65

Lisa Colledge
Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;

Chris James
Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;


Aim: To survey opinion of the assertion that useful metricbased input requires a “basket of metrics” to allow more varied and nuanced insights into merit than is possible by using one metric alone.
Methods: A poll was conducted to survey opinions
(N=204; average response rate=61%) within the international research community on using usage metrics in merit systems.
Results: “Research is best quantified using multiple criteria” was selected by most (40%) respondents as the reason that usage metrics are valuable, and 95% of respondents indicated that they would be likely or very likely to use usage metrics in their assessments of research
merit, if they had access to them. There was a similar degree of preference for simple and sophisticated usage metrics confirming that one size does not fit all, and that a onemetric
approach to merit is insufficient.
Conclusion: This survey demonstrates a clear willingness and a real appetite to use a “basket of metrics” to broaden the ways in which research merit can be detected and demonstrated.

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