Impact Round-Up 18th January: #altmetrics mania, adjunct invisibility, and quantitative sociology at Facebook.


Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication.

Image credit: Andrés Galeotti (CC BY)

Image credit: Andrés Galeotti (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Facebookers are heavily involved with academic pursuits…My own team (Growth Research) is made up of two sociologists and a manager trained in communications with a sociologist as an advisor. Many of the teams are doing social science though not always with the benefit and baggage of the formal social-science literature…While we are encouraged to publish, everything has to get approved by the communication and legal teams. It is a small price to pay for such an incredible data set; but we don’t do sharable academic data. [read more]

2. Contingent Mother: The Role Gender Plays in the Lives of Adjunct Faculty by Margaret Betz at Hybrid Pedagogy.

One myth associated with those of us in the non-tenured world is that there must be something wrong with us, something “defective” — either we are too lazy, unmotivated, unambitious or just not qualified for one of the “many” tenure track jobs offered each year…Hiding behind this “defective” myth, institutional power structures take the scrutiny off of why the academic system maintains so many part-timers and the way it might be culpable for that exploitive reality…

In 2001 Robert Drago and Joan Williams conducted a study they called The Faculty and Families Project and found that because women are still considered the primary caregivers in our society, the ideal academic favored in the university setting is therefore discriminatory towards women. [read more]

3. Understanding your rights: repositories, websites, and “self-archiving” by Bonnie Swoger at Information Culture.

Image credit: Mushii (CC BY)

If you are a researcher who wants to make sure that folks have access to your work, what can you do?

1. Pay attention to your rights as authors – this isn’t just esoteric publishing jargon, this has a direct impact on your career.

2. Publish in a gold open access journal. If you can’t publish in a gold open access journal, try to select a journal that allows you to post the post-print or publisher’s version of your article online. The Sherpa/Romeo database can help you determine what your rights will be.

3. Talk to your friendly local librarian. We don’t bite, I can (almost) guarantee.Once you’ve posted your work to an institutional repository, a subject repository or your personal website (as permitted in your copyright transfer agreement), provide a link to that document in your social networking profiles. [read more]

  1. Quality matters: Science Translation from Press Release to News by Paige Brown at SciLogs.

Little research has looked into exactly how and what aspects of press releases influence the quality of subsequent news coverage in science…My results revealed that confirming or disconfirming outside evidence mentions in a press release significantly influences perceived newsworthiness. When a press release contained a quote from an outside expert introducing controversy to the significance of the reported findings, communicators indicated that the news outlets they work for would be more likely to cover the story…[read more]

  1. Why you should ignore altmetrics and other bibliometric nightmares by David Colquhoun and Andrew Plested.

Image credit: Josep Ma. Rosell (CC BY)

It’s perfectly reasonable to give credit for all forms of research outputs, not only papers.  That doesn’t need metrics. It’s nonsense to suggest that altmetrics are needed because research outputs are not already valued in grant and job applications.  If you write a grant for almost any agency, you can put your CV. If you have a non-publication based output, you can always include it. Metrics are not needed. If you write software, get the numbers of downloads. Software normally garners citations anyway if it’s of any use to the greater community. [read more]