Academic institutions must have strategies for evaluating research productivity by faculty. Such strategies are useful in guiding resource allocations for the research enterprise, for decisions on faculty promotions, and for broader institutional planning, including program development. Commonly, decisions about research space utilization, and funding to support the space, are considered within the purview of the institutional administration. Peer review, in manuscript and grant submissions and the promotions process, is more commonly used to evaluate the impact of faculty research. The article by Iyengar et al in this issue of Academic Medicine takes an interesting approach to evaluate research productivity of individual faculty by integrating benchmarks for research funding and publication impact. The strategy of using these benchmarks to partition faculty into quadrants to guide faculty development activities is clever and useful. Less clear are the philosophy and long-term utility of the approach. The applicability to the stated goal of promoting multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary translational research is not obvious, nor is it apparent that faculty will continue to view decisions as transparent and fair over the longer term. Nevertheless, the author's article is a welcome contribution at a time when many institutions are struggling with issues of evaluating faculty investigators and allocating resources for research.
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