How to measure research? Two thoughts

For OCAD's Strategic Plan, 2012-17, sLab wrote a challenge scenario called "Payback." Details are in Appendix One of the Strat Plan, Advancing Excellence at OCAD University for the Age of Imagination, 2012-2017

One of the key ideas in Payback is the rise of metrics -- the measurement of everything for performance assessment. On the subject of measurement, we can find at least two major attitudes, represented by what I will call "believers" and "non-believers."

Materials for believers:
The OECD's Frascati Manual finds ways to measure, well, just about everything.

  • Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry
  • Statistical Analysis of Science, Technology and Industry
  • Measuring Globalisation
  • Measuring Industrial Performance
  • Measuring Science and Technology
  • Measuring the Information Economy
  • etc etc

Materials for sceptics:
Author Malcolm Gladwell (who was a senior when I was at Trinity College in the 80s) covers a different point of view, writing about the challenge of hiring in the modern world. From “Stories from the Near Future,” the 2008 New Yorker Conference. Gladwell talks about the "mismatch problem" which is essentially a measurement paradox or fallacy..:

How might we measure such seeming intangibles as the value of research, human potential, etc?