A Taxonomy of Research Quality v1.7.pdf (549.97 kB)
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A Taxonomy of Research Quality v1.7.pdf

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posted on 2022-06-21, 23:59 authored by Mark HooperMark Hooper

This is an attempt to create a taxonomy of research quality.

‘Research quality’ is clearly no single thing, but a family of things:  many moving parts, many stakeholders, various proxies for measurement, complex interdependencies, and even points of tension where drivers for quality might pull in different directions.   

I like the word ‘quality’ because I think it still means something.  Unlike research “excellence” which has been basically hoodwinked by vanity metrics, “research quality” could still be used broadly to refer to “good research”.


People will disagree about the structure of the taxonomy as drafted, but that itself would be interesting and instructive.  Once agreed, such a diagram could identify points of necessary collaboration between the various university functions that combine to promote research quality.

The idea is that everything on the bottom row of the taxonomy should be measurable.  Some measures will be positive (e.g. publications in quality journals) or evidence of new technology and public goods.  Other measures will be negative (e.g. authorship disputes and retractions).  All together, data could, perhaps, form something of a cohesive picture of the quality of a research enterprise.