Objectives: Effective researcher assessment is key to decisions about funding allocations, promotion and tenure. We aimed to identify what is known about methods for assessing researcher achievements, leading to a new composite assessment model.
Design: We systematically reviewed the literature via the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols framework.
Data sources All Web of Science databases (including Core Collection, MEDLINE and BIOSIS Citation Index) to the end of 2017.
Eligibility criteria (1) English language, (2) published in the last 10 years (2007–2017), (3) full text was available and (4) the article discussed an approach to the assessment of an individual researcher’s achievements.
Data extraction and synthesis Articles were allocated among four pairs of reviewers for screening, with each pair randomly assigned 5% of their allocation to review concurrently against inclusion criteria. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using Cohen’s Kappa (ĸ). The ĸ statistic showed agreement ranging from moderate to almost perfect (0.4848–0.9039). Following screening, selected articles underwent full-text review and bias was assessed.
Results Four hundred and seventy-eight articles were included in the final review. Established approaches developed prior to our inclusion period (eg, citations and outputs, h-index and journal impact factor) remained dominant in the literature and in practice. New bibliometric methods and models emerged in the last 10 years including: measures based on PageRank algorithms or ‘altmetric’ data, methods to apply peer judgement and techniques to assign values to publication quantity and quality. Each assessment method tended to prioritise certain aspects of achievement over others.
Bibliographical noteCopyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.
- Comprehensive Researcher Achievement Model (CRAM)
- journal impact factor
- research metrics
- researcher assessment