Project Snowball; A new research metric standard for the future

See on Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

Project Snowball is a public service project that aims to help universities benchmark their performance across a broad range of research activities. The project, developed among eight UK institutions and scientific publisher Elsevier, aims to determine a standard set of common metrics for external benchmarking and to share the methodology behind those metrics publically.

In 2010, Elsevier and Imperial College London participated in a joint JISC-funded studywithin the English higher education sector. The study reviewed the sector’s efforts and experiences of implementing research management systems. It evaluated and compared the tools that universities currently use to manage data related to research. It also aimed to identify problems with the current approaches used, and to publicise elements of good practice. The study resulted in the report Research information management: Developing tools to inform the management of research and translating existing good practice (available at work contains several recommendations, most notably: institutions should work more collaboratively with each other, with funders, and with suppliers, to develop data standards and drive consistency in research systems. Following the completion and publication of the report, the Imperial College/Elsevier team initiated a second phase of work that would address and build on the recommendations.

Second phase: Snowball – agreeing on benchmarking metrics for UK research performance

The overriding objective of Project Snowball is to build consensus to deliver metrics to benchmark research performance in the UK, and to simplify the interaction between institutions, suppliers and funders. To reach this objective, a number of workshops were set up with leading UK academic institutes. Eight universities agreed to collaborate on the project: Imperial College London, Queen’s University Belfast, University College London, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Leeds, University of Oxford, and University of St Andrews.

Project reports:

See on


About Wilfred Mijnhardt
RMIMR is my virtual playground, a place to reflect on issues from my professional context, my job as Policy Director at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). RSM is the international university based business school at Erasmus University Rotterdam. More info here: Here is my list of relevant publications on the topic of my RMIMR weblog: The rss feed for my RMIMR collection is here: Here is my other weblog on impact of research:

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