Thoughts from an emerging academic librarian on ‘informational holism’ and scholarly metrics


The ACRLog is a good source of insights and ideas from a wide swath of academic librarians. Particularly interesting to me, a long-term academic librarian in the last quarter of my career, are the posts from those who are just entering the field. Benjamin Dueck’s post on his concerns regarding the limited value of quantitative metrics for measuring the impact of scholarly contributions, particularly for the humanities as he serves, was just such a post. His experience being betwixt two generations (‘millenial’ and ‘zoomer’) spoke to me, as I’m officially in the last days of the Baby Boomers, crossing into ‘Generation X’. And I felt for his perception of growing up with constant ‘global crises’, although, truth be told, Mr. Dueck, there are probably few in this world who have not thought that.

As a Collection Assessment Librarian, however, I was more interested in his concept of ‘informational holism’ and his concerns regarding scholarly metrics. The two-dimensional figure does not do his concept justice – I think a 3D rendition could be more impactful. It is concerning how bibliometric measures are being pushed in many institutions and, indeed some nations, as proxies for impact, especially by those advocating neoliberalism of our academic institutions. Clarivate has recently integrated the journals indexed in their Arts & Humanities Citation Index into the Journals Citation Report (JCR). For our collection assessments, we routinely examine the number of the top cited journals from the JCR, but only for the pure sciences and the social sciences. Engineering disciplines tend to use conferences for sharing their research, and arts & humanities have only just recently been extending their communications more heavily into journals, but using very different publication patterns. So, the use of these metrics from JCR will be of limited value for evaluating top journals.

I do believe there is some validity in using citation metrics as one of many methods of assessing the value of research or a collection. But Mr. Dueck has made some thoughtful and interesting points regarding the limitations of strictly quantitative metrics of liberal arts scholarship (which is inherently interdisciplinary).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Studying Research

Research is not a basic skill

Decolonising through critical librarianship

A platform for Cambridge librarians approaching decolonisation

The Librarian Parlor

Building a community of researchers

Librarian AND/OR researcher

As a librarian I'm involved in some aspects of research, but I'm learning about more

The Scholarly Kitchen

What’s Hot and Cooking In Scholarly Publishing

Libraries are For Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Lib(rary) Performance

About library statistics & measurement - by Ray Lyons

Walt at Random

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Texas Library Association blogs

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

The Quarterly Journal of Economics Current Issue

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

The Scholarly Kitchen

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Stephen's Lighthouse

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

ResourceShelf

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Reference Notes

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Politifact.com Truth-O-Meter rulings from National

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Open and Shut?

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

No Shelf Required

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

%d bloggers like this: