On Research Quality and Impact: What Five Decades in Academia Has Taught Me

On Research Quality and Impact: What Five Decades in Academia Has Taught Me

Behrooz Parhami


Research quality and impact need to be assessed for various purposes, including promotions or salary raises at universities, advancements at research labs, awarding of grants by research-funding organizations, and bestowing scientific/technical honors. Research must ultimately be at service to the society that supports it, but there is more to evaluating research than assessment of its immediate social impact. Research programs within and between various disciplines are interconnected, with the chain-link from a particular piece of research often going through multiple projects (and sometimes human generations) before it connects to a practical application. In scientific fields, research is expected to validate or challenge proposed theories of how our world works, and therein lies its impact. In technical fields, research is at the service of building better devices, systems, and processes, through the derivation of innovative designs or more accurate modeling and evaluation methods. In this paper, I present some thoughts on factors used to assess science and technology research efforts and their impact.


Assessment, Citation, Conference, Impact, Journal, Paper, Productivity, Promotion, Scholarship


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