This review of the international literature on evaluation systems, evaluation practices, and metrics (mis)uses was written as part of a larger review commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to inform their independent assessment of the role of metrics in research evaluation (2014–5). The literature on evaluation systems, practices, and effects of indicator uses is extremely heterogeneous: it comprises hundreds of sources published in different media, spread over disciplines, and with considerable variation in the nature of the evidence. A condensation of the state-of-the-art in relevant research is therefore highly timely. Our review presents the main strands in the literature, with a focus on empirical materials about possible effects of evaluation exercises, ‘gaming’ of indicators, and strategic responses by scientific communities and others to requirements in research assessments. In order to increase visibility and availability, an adapted and updated review is presented here as a stand-alone—after authorization by HEFCE.

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