Measures and Metrics and Maclean’s! Oh My!
Abstract: We live in a world with seemingly ever-increasing resource demands and constraints. As such, decisions for resource allocations are increasingly predicated on evidence-based assessments of returns from such investments. Such assessments necessarily require measurement, which leads to the development of metrics and the ranking of priorities based on relative metric positions. The utility of this process depends on validity and reliability at each stage; however, validity and reliability are particularly complex when considering academic research. Furthermore, measurement and metrics, often considered the exclusive domain of quantitative considerations, are complicated because they are also necessarily qualitative. Details of the complexities will be discussed with several examples showcasing the strengths and limitations of popular approaches to measuring academic impact. Finally, recommendations will be provided for more informed use of current metrics and for developing new metrics to more comprehensively assess academic impact.