Re:Publishing: Metrics, Alt-metrics, and Impact
What if we’re looking at all the wrong things?
Everyone has heard the old saw about “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Yet we continue to rely heavily on things we can count as shortcuts for evidence of complex and nuanced things. Like research impact, or academic “productivity.” How many books or articles have you published, how many citations do they have, what do the aggregate teaching evaluations say? Can these kinds of numbers really tell us what we need to know? What important nuances are left out? What kinds of behaviors do they incentivize, and what do they discount or discourage? How is this changing, or how should it be changing, patterns of scholarly publishing and research?
This event will feature a moderated discussion among members of the Duke community about all of these questions, and more. It will touch on both current and emerging methods for understanding impact, and their pros and cons. How does “impact factor” work? New publication methods create the possibility for seeing the context and conversations around references to your work, in many contexts – not just other academic journals, but also NGO policy documents, news media, syllabi, Wikipedia entries, and social media. What can these tell us that simply counting citations can’t? How can you use these to show the value of your work and advance your career when citation counts for your work haven’t had time to build up yet? What approaches can we use to demonstrate the value and impact of works that aren’t publications, understanding that different disciplines have different patterns of what they create and how it gets disseminated and used. Can we develop “humane metrics” that will allow us to demonstrate other things we value, like collegiality, equity, and openness?
Karl Leif Bates (Director of Research Communication, Duke News & Communication)
Kevin W. Moore (Vice Dean for Faculty, Trinity Arts & Sciences)
Alexandra Sutton Lawrence (Science Policy Director, Duke Initiative for Science & Society)
Scott Lindroth (Vice Provost for the Arts)
Free and open to the public. Light lunch served. Duke University Libraries thank their co-sponsors for lending support and ideas for this event: Forum for Scholars and Publics • Digital Scholarship Services (Duke University Libraries) • Office of Copyright & Scholarly Communication (Duke University Libraries) • Research & Instructional Services (Duke University Libraries) • Duke Learning Innovation (DLI) • Office of Interdisciplinary Studies • John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (Digital Humanities Initiative, PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, and Humanities Publishing Initiative) • Duke University Press • Wired! Lab for Digital Art, History, and Visual Culture