Different aspects of the assessment of technical quality are suited to appropriate quantitative and qualitative metrics. The quality of the research activities is best viewed in the context of the entire portfolio of the organization, including suitable assessment of cross-organizational programs.
Peer review, coupled with quantitative and qualitative metrics, is a critical part of an effective assessment of the R&D organization.
Quantitative metrics can play a key role in assessment, but it is important to determine first what will be measured and why, and to avoid counting the numbers without a good rationale. Typical bibliometric measures are publications and presentations. Patents are another quantifiable metric. For each of these, the total number is not nearly as important as the quality and the contribution (and commonly accepted measures such as number of publication citations can be a poor surrogate for quality). Other indicators, generally qualitative, are associated with the culture of the organization; these include training and mentoring, safety initiatives, and the effectiveness of management.
Quantitative metrics can usually be associated with such additional aspects as return on investment, the development of new products and processes, and internal productivity and/or cost savings. Other indicators that are more qualitative include technical assistance, customer satisfaction, communication (both internally and with stakeholders), and global recognition (including benchmarking). The transitioning of research into products has both quantitative and qualitative aspects.