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Boffins at the University of Southampton will next week announce plans to develop a new tool for evaluating the effect of self archiving on scientific research.

Professor Steve Harnad says he will also reveal new research into the causes of a positive correlation between self archiving and research impact.

Harnad, a real evangelist of the open access movement, is set to speak at next week's Conference of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics in Madrid. He will explain how he and his team at the School of Electronics & Computer Science plan to run comparative tests of old and new metrics of research impact, as part of the UK's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

His announcement follows warnings from economists that we should not be overly reliant on using economic returns to assess the value of academic research.

Economist Wolfgang Polt of the Joanneum Research Institute (Vienna) was speaking at Science Impact, a joint conference hosted by the European Science Foundation (ESF). He said: "What I can offer to the debate is a warning and a recommendation to fence off overly-simplistic approaches to quantifying ranking of research areas, technologies, and projects."

He added that econometric studies, are too often "used to derive heroic or sometimes simplistic assumptions about the nature of innovation". ®

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