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Performance metrics

Some measures for evaluating scholarly activity may also disadvantage members of equity seeking groups. The use of performance metrics is a particular area of concern. While quantitative metrics may appear objective, they can advantage some forms of scholarship over others for reasons that have little to do with academic merit. In particular, metrics may undervalue the contributions of heterodox and interdisciplinary scholarship, research with an equity, diversity, and inclusion focus, the dissemination of research results through means other than publication in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, and works published in languages other than English. The CAUT Policy Statement on Performance Metrics states that:

Performance metrics can especially disadvantage Aboriginal scholars, members of equity-seeking groups, those publishing or disseminating knowledge in languages other than English, those who are on non-traditional career paths, as well as those who conduct unconventional teaching, research, creative activities, service, professional practice, and/or research.48

CAUT recommends that associations bargain language in their collective agreements that protects their members against the use of performance metrics. The CAUT model clause on Performance Metrics states that “Performance metrics shall not be used as a means to measure the performance of or budget allocations to academic departments, units, and individual staff members.” Academic staff associations have faced considerable resistance negotiating such language. The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) was not able to secure language that would prevent tenure, promotion, and evaluation processes from requiring the submission of research metrics and allow their use in such processes only when personally and voluntarily submitted by the member.49 Although the proposed UMFA language has not been incorporated into the collective agreement, individual departments may include it in their unit standards.

48 CAUT Policy Statement on Performance Metrics, Approved by the CAUT Council November 2019.
49 See Appendix H of the Collective agreement between the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2021). The parties agreed to strike a joint committee that would review the use of research metrics and could recommend the insertion of specific language into the collective agreement. Although the committee issued a report that was critical of the use of research metrics, the administration representatives rejected the specific language provided by the association.