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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
10 DECEMBER 2013

Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals

"Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a 'tyranny' that must be broken, according to a Nobel prize winner who has declared a boycott on the publications.

Randy Schekman, a US biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top–tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science.

Schekman said pressure to publish in 'luxury' journals encouraged researchers to cut corners and pursue trendy fields of science instead of doing more important work. The problem was exacerbated, he said, by editors who were not active scientists but professionals who favoured studies that were likely to make a splash."

(Ian Sample, Monday 9 December 2013, The Guardian)


2013 • academic credibility • academic impactacademic journalsacademic papersacademic workassessing impactassessment of scholarshipboycott • Cell and Science (journal) • citation-based measures of impactcredible information • cut corners • eLife (online journal) • journal impactlevel playing fieldmeasurement of impactmedical researchNature (journal)Nobel Prizeperformativity • physiology or medicine • publication of academic papersquantitative study of scholarship • Randy Schekman • research impactresearch papers • science journals • science researchscientific community • scientific credibility • scientific processStockholmThe Guardian • top-tier journals • Wellcome Trust • working scientists


Simon Perkins
29 APRIL 2012

Citations and impact factors are old hat: the Web 2.0 generation needs metrics to match today's scholarship

"As a young academic, I am reliably informed that the landscape of scholarly communication is not what it was 20 years ago. But, despite all that has changed, it seems that we still largely rely upon the same tired and narrow measures of quality and academic impact – namely, citation counts and journal impact factors.

As someone who has used the internet in almost every aspect of their academic work to date, it's hard for me to ignore the fact that these mechanisms, in predating the web, largely ignore its effects.

By holding up these measures as incentives, we appear to have our eye firmly fixed on the hammer and not the nail, adjusting our research habits in order to maximise scores and ignoring issues such as why we publish in the first place."

(Matthew Gamble, 28 July 2011, Times Higher Education)



academic blogs • academic discussion • academic impactacademic papersacademic work • alt-metrics • alt-metrics community • alt-metrics movement • • assessing impactassessment of scholarshipblogCERNcitation • citation counts • citation-based measures • citation-based measures of impactdiverse metricsengaged scholars • existing measures • funding decisions • Harvard Universityimpact • impressions of impact • incentive • Internetjournal impact • journal impact factors • journal output • measurementmeasurement of impactMendeleymetricsnarrow measures • narrow measures of academic impact • narrow measures of quality • new measurement frontieronline • online reference-management service • peer review • platform for scholarly communication • practices of scholarly communication • products of scholarly communication • publication of academic papersquantitative study of scholarship • ReaderMeter • • real-time readership • reference manager • research habits • research impactresearch output • Rouse Ball • Samuel Arbesman • scholarly activity • scholarly activity on the web • scholarly communication • scientific discoveries • second scientific revolution • Tim Berners-Lee • timely indications of impact • Timothy Gowers • traces of scholarship • TwitterUniversity of CambridgeUniversity of North Carolina • utility of the web • Web 2.0 • web as a platform • young academics


Simon Perkins

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