Category: metrics

Clickbait and impact: how academia has been hacked

It has become increasingly clear that prevailing academic incentive structures have a potentially damaging and distorting effect on the nature of academic debates. Portia Roelofs and Max Gallien use the example of a controversial recent journal publication to illustrate how deliberately provocative articles have the capacity to hack academia, to privilege clicks and attention over rigour in research. This is […]

Collaborative researcher behaviour has not (yet) increased in response to incentive regimes’ performance measures

A somewhat cynical view of researcher motivations suggests that, when faced with new quantitative performance measures as part of their local incentive regimes, researchers will quickly modify their behaviours in an effort to optimise their own performance. Charlotte Wien, Bertil F. Dorch and Asger Væring Larsen set about testing this notion, looking more closely at how their own Danish system […]

Rather than promoting economic value, evaluation can be reclaimed by universities to combat its misuse and negative impacts

To critics across higher education, evaluation frameworks such as the REF and TEF represent mechanisms of control, the generation of a “target and terror” culture. Deirdre Duffy explains how the REF and TEF resonate most closely with impact evaluation, a form of evaluation that can prove useful for a simple cost-benefit analysis but can also be problematic as it encourages […]

There are clear reasons for the increasing award of first-class degrees. A lowering of standards isn’t one of them.

Recent HESA figures revealing yet another increase in the award of first-class degrees have provoked predictable consternation among commentators. Liz Morrish provides some clarity and insight into why student achievement has risen sharply in recent years. The higher education system, and its culture of metrics and key performance indicators, has constructed a student who is a consumer with anxieties which must […]

The new configuration of metrics, rules, and guidelines creates a disturbing ambiguity in academia

Much of academia has become increasingly influenced by metrics and a set of metrical practices. However, few have totally understood the massive wave of conflicting rules and guidelines that are necessary in order to stabilise these metrical practices. Peter Dahler-Larsen, using examples from his own experiences in Denmark, explains how these multiple, cross-cutting rules have created a disturbing ambiguity in […]

Microsoft Academic is on the verge of becoming a bibliometric superpower

Last year, the new Microsoft Academic service was launched. Sven E. Hug and Martin P. Brändle look at how it compares with more established competitors such as Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science. While there are reservations about the availability of instructions for novice users, Microsoft Academic has impressive semantic search functionality, broad coverage, structured and rich metadata, and […]

A system that prioritises publications means early career researchers’ scholarly attitudes and behaviours remain conservative

Early career researchers (ECRs) are the largest community of researchers but despite this we know little about their scholarly attitudes and behaviours. Reporting the first-year findings of a longitudinal study of an international panel of ECRs, Dave Nicholas reveals that many remain conservative in their scholarly attitudes and practices. ECRs are concerned by “risky” open peer review, regard archiving their […]

The pace of academic life is not the problem—the lack of autonomy is

To many disgruntled with the quantification of scholarship, its impossible demands and meaningless metrics, it is the heightened pace of academic life that is the problem. For Alison Edwards, the crux of the problem is actually a lack of autonomy. Is it time for academics to take back control? This post is inspired in part by the Impact Blog’s Accelerated […]