GLOBAL: Science metrics

The value of scientific output is often measured, to rank one nation against another, allocate funds between universities, or even grant or deny tenure. Scientometricians have devised a multitude of 'metrics' to help in these rankings. Do they work? Are they fair? Are they over-used? Nature investigated this key higher education issue in a series of articles published in its June edition.

Assessing assessment
Transparency, education and communication are key to ensuring that appropriate metrics are used to measure individual scientific achievement.

Metrics: Do metrics matter?
Many researchers believe that quantitative metrics determine who gets hired and who gets promoted at their institutions. With an exclusive poll and interviews, Nature probes to what extent metrics are really used that way.

Metrics: A profusion of measures
Scientific performance indicators are proliferating, leading researchers to ask afresh what they are measuring and why. Richard Van Noorden surveys the rapidly evolving ecosystem.

Science economics: What science is really worth
Spending on science is one of the best ways to generate jobs and economic growth, say research advocates. But as Colin Macilwain reports, the evidence behind such claims is patchy

How to improve the use of metrics
Since the invention of the science citation index in the 1960s, quantitative measuring of the performance of researchers has become ever more prevalent, controversial and influential. Six commentators tell Nature what changes might ensure that individuals are assessed more fairly.

Let's make science metrics more scientific
To capture the essence of good science, stakeholders must combine forces to create an open, sound and consistent system for measuring all the activities that make up academic productivity, says Julia Lane.