All organizations who fund and conduct scientific research are increasingly "under the gun" to better evaluate the performance of their programs. Scientific research is supported by two major sponsors; the federal government funds most basic research and industry supports the more applied research. These sponsors have organizational goals and obligations to their stakeholders. They must account for their expenditures and must justify these investment decisions. How to do so in a viable yet acceptable manner has been an age-old question. In recent opinions and letters in The Scientist, Thomas J. Phelan1 argued for the use of bibliometric measures in the evaluation of institutional performance, whereas George Perry2 criticized the emphasis research universities put on gaining external funding as an indicator of research evaluation.

The key issue in research evaluation is the combination of the scientific process being such a complex phenomenon, and our constant desire to quantify...

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