Scholarly Communication and Neo-bibliometric Indicators of Impact
Rudy Professor of Information Science, Indiana University Bloomington
Scholars have an ever-expanding range 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., publication and 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 miscellany 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?