The Numbers Game: Scholarly Communication and Digital Metrics was the title of an invited talk given by SLIS faculty member Blaise Cronin at the Centre for Information Science, City University, London, England on December 10, 2012. The talk abstract is included below.
Coverage of the lecture is included on the Altmetric blog. The blog is from a "London-based company [Altmetric] that is focused on making article level metrics easy for authors, readers, librarians, funders, publishers, and anyone who engages in scholarly research." Ernesto Priego’ posting "Insights from 'The Numbers Game', lecture by Blaise Cronin" (December 11, 2012) concluded:
• "What should be captured and counted, by whom and for what purposes? Will reputation management and a strategic gaming of the system become unedifying staples of scholarly life in an age of digital analytics? Will triviality trump transparency? These were some of the questions the lecture left open as food for thought and urgent work to be done by all of us."
The Numbers Game: Scholarly Communication and Digital Metrics
Blaise Cronin, Rudy Professor of Information Science, Indiana University Bloomington
• Scholars have a multiplicity of communication media and publication platforms at their disposal. They routinely submit their work to repositories and open access journals, create videos, upload datasets, share slide presentations, blog, make use of reference managers, tweet, and interact with their peers via social media. Their digital footprints are everywhere to be found and almost every footprint can be tracked, in the moment. Traditional bibliometric indicators (e.g., citation counts) are neither real-time in nature nor fully reflective of a scholar’s “true contributions,” but they can now be supplemented with a battery of “alternative metrics”: how frequently a scholar’s work is downloaded, acknowledged, included in syllabi, quoted in the press, cited in policy documents, recommended by others, praised by opinion leaders, mentioned in social media. However, concerns relating to validity, reliability, utility, comparability and ethicality abound. Which data elements should be captured and counted, by whom and for what purposes? Will narcissism, reputation management and strategic gaming become unedifying staples of scholarly life in an age of digital analytics? In short, might triviality trump transparency?
Posted December 18, 2012