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09 JUNE 2015

Living with the H-Index: metric assemblages in the contemporary academy

"This paper examines the relationship between metrics, markets and affect in the contemporary UK academy. It argues that the emergence of a particular structure of feeling amongst academics in the last few years has been closely associated with the growth and development of ‘quantified control’. It examines the functioning of a range of metrics: citations; workload models; transparent costing data; research assessments; teaching quality assessments; and commercial university league tables. It argues that these metrics, and others, although still embedded within an audit culture, increasingly function autonomously as a data assemblage able not just to mimic markets but, increasingly, to enact them. It concludes by posing some questions about the possible implications of this for the future of academic practice."

(Roger Burrows, 2012)

Burrows, Roger (2012). "Living with the h-index: Metric assemblages in the contemporary academy". The Sociological Review, 60(2), pp. 355-372. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article] : Goldsmiths Research Online. Available at:



2012academic identities • academic value • Aidan Kelly • analytic error • Anne Kerr • audit culture • bibliometric measures • bygone era • campus novel • citation-based measures of impact • economic criterion • Frank Parkin • Full Economic Costing (fEC) • Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) • governmentality • h-index • higher education • incommensurable kinds of value • Key Information Set (KIS)knowledge economylaissez faire capitalismleague tables • magniloquence • managerialism • market economic imperatives • marketization of education • Mary Holmes • metricisationMichel Foucault • monetary value • neoliberal state • neoliberalism • Nick Gane • ordoliberalism • page rank • Paul Wakeling • professionalisation • proletarianisation • public sector • publish or perish • quantified control • quantified measurementquantitative analysis • quantitative criterion • RAEREFRoger Burrows • Ros Gill • Science Citation Index • Scopus • Simon Parker • university life • work stress • workload planning


Simon Perkins
30 MAY 2010

Software is increasingly making a difference to the constitution and production of everyday life

"The reason that a focus on Web 2.0 is significant and needed is because the popular web applications it represents are driven by users providing endless and virtually unlimited information about their everyday lives. To put it in Lash's terms, they are clearly on the inside of the everyday, they are up close, they afford direct and routine connections between people and software. We have not yet begun to think through how this personal information might be harvested and used. A starting point would be to find out how this information about everyday mundane lives is being mined, how this feeds into 'relational databases', and with what consequences: the very types of question that are being asked by the writers discussed here. Alongside this it is also important that we consider how the information provided by users, and other 'similar' users, might affect the things they come across. If we return to, which 'learns' users' tastes and preferences and provides them with their own taste–specific online radio station, it is possible to appreciate how the music that people come across and listen to has become a consequence of algorithms. This is undoubtedly an expression of power, not of someone having power over someone else, but of the software making choices and connections in complex and unpredictable ways in order to shape the everyday experiences of the user. How we find the books that shape our writing could be a question we might ask ourselves if we wish to consider the power that algorithms exercise over us and over the formation of knowledge within our various disciplines. (I know of at least two occasions when Amazon has located a book of interest for me that has then gone on to form an important part of a published work.) This is not just about Amazon, it would also include searches on Google Scholar, the use of the bookmarking site, the RSS feeds we might use, or the likely coming applications that will predict, locate and recommend research articles we might be interested in. Readers based in the UK will also by now be considering the power of algorithms to decide the allocation of research funding as the role of metrics in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF) are finalized."

(David Beer, 996–997)

Beer, D. (2009). "Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious." New Media & Society 11(6).


TAGS • blogjects • Bruce Sterling • coded objects • cognisphere • communicationcontent creation • context-aware • convergencecrisis of empiricism • cultural formations • cultural formsdatadata miningDel.icio.usdigital culturedynamic interfaceseveryday lifeflows • geodemographic classification • Google Scholarhuman agencyidentityinformationinformation society • intelligent devices • internet of thingsKatherine • logjects • marketing discrimination • mediationmetadatamodes of being • modes of classification • modes of knowing • new media • new new media ontology • Nigel Thrift • old mediaperformative infrastructurespersonal data • post-hegemony • powerResearch Excellence FrameworkRFIDRoger BurrowsRSSScott Lashsocial bookmarkingsocial networkingsocial participation • software sorting • SPIMES • Steve Graham • technological unconscious • technology • transducting space • transformationubiquitous information flowsUKurban studiesvirtual spacesWeb 2.0William Mitchell


Simon Perkins

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