Blaise Cronin to deliver guest lecture at Edinburgh Napier University, 24 June 2014

Blaise Cronin

Professor Blaise Cronin

Dr Blaise Cronin, Rudy Professor of Information Science, Indiana University is Visiting Professor to the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University. Next week he will be on our Merchiston campus to deliver a presentation entitled “Beethoven vs. Bieber: On the meaningfulness of (alt)metrics” (abstract below) as part of the School of Computing/Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation Tech Talk series.

This takes place on Tuesday 24th June at 14:00 at Merchiston in room D40.

The presentation will last approximately 1 hour, and there will be time for questions afterwards. External guests are welcome, either for just the presentation, or the presentation and discussion that follows. Please email me at if you would like to attend.

Beethoven vs. Bieber: On the meaningfulness of (alt)metrics: abstract

The REF and RAE symbolize powerfully the ongoing transformation of the higher education system, in the UK and elsewhere. Formalised research assessment exercises are creating a pervasive culture of accountability, metrification and monetization. Increasingly, research inputs are justified on the basis of measurable outputs (datasets, patents, papers), which, in turn, are expected to generate quantifiable impacts (downloads, inventions, citations). In addition to traditional measures of productivity and its downstream effects, we also have social media tools and platforms providing dynamically updated indicators of socio-scholarly usage and impact (e.g., Mendeley readership statistics, ‘likes’ on Twitter, news media mentions, blog commentary). Now, so the argument goes, we can discern the true contributions of an individual, unit or institution and evaluate the impact of their research in the round, ensuring that heretofore dimly perceived or overlooked effects are properly acknowledged and factored into the calculus of reward. Academic careers and reputations run the risk of being reduced to a miscellany of indicators, not a few of which are of questionable validity and reliability.

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