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Research Metric Use Criticized

The University of Liverpool is coming under criticism for using research metrics to identify researchers whose positions may be at risk, Nature News reports.

Liverpool, it adds, is undergoing a reorganization that will entail nearly four dozen job cuts affecting its faculty of health and life sciences. Some 2,000 individuals have signed an open letter that says these cuts would have "a chilling effect on UK research," the BMJ reports. BBC News adds that Louise Kenny, the executive pro vice chancellor of the health and life science faculty at Liverpool, has said the cuts are not due to tightened funding but are aimed at "increasing academic quality."

Nature News says critics of using research metrics to guide these cuts argue that the metrics are a population-level rather than individual-level tool and only assess a portion of an academic researcher's work. They don't, for instance, take into account teaching responsibilities, it notes.

According to Nature News, the University of Liverpool says research metrics are only one of the measures it uses to determine which jobs might be at risk and that it also accounts for leadership contributions and outside memberships, as well as mitigating factors like the COVID-19 pandemic.