Metrics being applied in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) are too often based on the practices of more scientifically oriented scholarship, or simply on what is possible for our technologies to measure.
The collective challenge and responsibility of evaluators, especially within an HSS context, is to articulate, incentivise and reward practices that enrich scholarly lives and expand the understanding of scholarship itself. Evaluators need to be able to reflect on a broader understanding of scholarly activity, including indicators for diversification of knowledge, knowledge transfer, and underrewarded/underrepresented work in the academy such as microtransactional scholarly activities.
Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the collaborative HuMetricsHSS pilot aims to reverse-engineer the process of using evaluation metrics. We initiate the process by identifying with what matters — goals, objectives, and values for individuals and academic institutions— and work backwards from there to develop indicators that can help academics understand if they are achieving their aims.
Through a series of workshops, we are engaging a broad range of academic stakeholders (eg. senior and junior scholars, research administrators, metrics and scholarly communication experts) in order to refine and validate a value-based metrics framework. Next, we will work on a prototype app to test the framework against examples of underrewarded/underrepresented scholarly outputs (eg. syllabi and scholarly annotations) to understand where and how values are embedded into the practice of generating those outputs. Finally, we will create a values-based framework that will enable humanities and social science scholars to tell more textured stories about the impact of their research and teaching.
The HuMetricsHSS initiative is led by an international group of co-PIs including:
- Christopher Long, Michigan State University, Dean of College of Arts & Letters and Professor of Philosophy;
- Nicky Agate, Modern Language Association, Head of Digital Initiatives;
- Rebecca Kennison, K|N Consultants, Executive Director and Principal;
- Stacy Konkiel, Altmetric, Director of Research & Education;
- Jason Rhody, Social Science Research Council, Program Director;
- Simone Sacchi, LIBER, EU Projects Manager.
The research library community has been long invested in the use of bibliometrics and altmetrics in scholarly communication. LIBER’s participation allows it to share the expertise of European research libraries internationally, and to promote and foster international collaborations across the Atlantic. LIBER is:
- Contributing expertise in the area of scholarly communication and metrics;
- Participating in each stage of the project that requires expertise in mapping scholarly communication outputs to practices and values;
- Helping develop indicators, including a data model for the extraction of indicators from syllabi.