Category: metrics

Google Scholar is a serious alternative to Web of Science

Many bibliometricians and university administrators remain wary of Google Scholar citation data, preferring “the gold standard” of Web of Science instead. Anne-Wil Harzing, who developed the Publish or Perish software that uses Google Scholar data, here sets out to challenge some of the misconceptions about this data source and explain why it offers a serious alternative to Web of Science. […]

Mendeley reader counts offer early evidence of the scholarly impact of academic articles

Although the use of citation counts as indicators of scholarly impact has well-documented limitations, it does offer insight into what articles are read and valued. However, one major disadvantage of citation counts is that they are slow to accumulate. Mike Thelwall has examined reader counts from Mendeley, the academic reference manager, and found them to be a useful source of early […]

DMPTool: Fixed things and new things

Our development efforts are mostly trained on the new Roadmap platform—the next update is just on the horizon—however, there were a few DMPTool things that deserved attention this month. Enhancements Assign Roles: The functionality that allows institutional admins to grant admin privileges … Continue reading

Getting our hands dirty: why academics should design metrics and address the lack of transparency.

Metrics in academia are often an opaque mess, filled with biases and ill-judged assumptions that are used in overly deterministic ways. By getting involved with their design, academics can productively push metrics in a more transparent direction. Chris Elsden, Sebastian Mellor and Rob Comber introduce an example of designing metrics within their own institution. Using the metric of grant income, their tool ResViz shows […]

Human intuition is essential to science: Why metrics will not improve scientific governance

Scientists not only rely on knowledge reflected in textbooks and papers, but on their intuitions and experience. Answering scientific questions requires imagining what might be the case and then exploring it. Eric Giannella argues the uncertainty of science makes intuition and judgement essential. Yet the effect of metrics is to reduce the role of judgment. Even the most sophisticated set of metrics […]

Being trained by Twitter stats: Social media and the expanding ways we are measured in everyday life.

With the wider availability of real-time analytics on social media, what do all these metrics mean for the way that we interact with each other and for how we understand and judge ourselves? David Beer argues these developments could be seen as part of the broader metricisation of society. As we respond to performance metrics in our workplaces, so too we are now […]

Web analytics in the workplace: What Amazon and web newsrooms have in common – and where they differ.

The Politics of Data series continues with an investigation of how data-driven performance measurements operate in the workplace. What can we learn from the case of clicks in online news? Drawing from her ethnographic research shadowing web journalists, Angèle Christin illuminates the ambiguous and rather vague sets of meanings associated with clicks and web metrics that have become so omnipresent in online journalism. […]

Literacy as Numbers: The efficacy, merits and validity of transnational literacy assessment programmes.

Debates about the nature of literacy and how to account for the diversity of learning are far from resolved. A new book, Literacy as Numbers, looks at how literacy itself is being reframed around globalized assessment regimes. Camilla Addey delves into how these comparable numbers, now so heavily relied on in national policy, are produced, and how they are shaping our understanding of the meanings and purposes […]

Systems of measurement have a productive power in our lives

Metrics already perform a powerful productive role in the social world; they vindicate and limit, they cajole and incentivise, they legitimate and justify. When we reflect on how metrics are frequently used to manage performance, to facilitate competition, to judge us or to compare what we do with others, it is crucial that we see metrics as being central to the […]

Choosing the Right Criteria: Universities need to identify what behaviours should be valued and reward accordingly.

If universities are to thrive, evaluation criteria must capture and recognise exemplary contributions. To discontinue the legacy of poor indicators, Athene Donald calls for the focus on quality to be in more fundamental ways. For example, the mobility of an individual to accept overseas posts and attend international conferences has been frequently used as a proxy for excellence. Moving around […]