The evaluation of academic research performance is a difficult question and can be evaluated in a number of different ways. In Australia and New Zealand there are formal governmental assessments of research quality, but them are of course also other forms of assessment, such as job interviews, grant assessment, etc, that occur as well. The objective of this commentary is to very briefly overview the issue assessing research quality. The issue of how to develop an effective portfolio of research is an issue that will be addressed by the other commentaries within this special section of AMJ. The materials presented here are based on the discussions at a special session of the 2006 ANZMAC conference and other materials in the literature. The issue of assessing research quality is an issue of concern for some governments, as they want to ensure that public money allocated to Universities are resulting in 'value' to the tax payer.