InsideHigherEd’s interview with Jerry Muller about his new book. Published by the high impact-factor Princeton University Press. One excerpt:
Q: Some colleges, government agencies and businesses promote tools to evaluate faculty productivity — number of papers written, number of citations, etc. What do you make of this use of metrics?
A: Here too, metrics have a place, but only if they are used together with judgment. There are many snares. The quantity of papers tells you nothing about their quality or significance. In some disciplines, especially in the humanities, books are a more important form of scholarly communication, and they don’t get included in such metrics. Citation counts are often distorted, for example by including only journals within a particular discipline, thereby marginalizing works that have a transdisciplinary appeal. And then of course evaluating faculty productivity by numbers of publications creates incentives to publish more articles, on narrower topics, and of marginal significance. In science, it promotes short-termism at the expense of developing long-term research capacity.
More on the $600K Brad Shelton has dropped on Academic Analytics so far here.