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The meaning of @realdonaldtrump

How significant can a tweet can be? We can point to isolated cases of individual tweets going viral, creating controversy and producing material outcomes in the world. But isolated tweets rarely have such significance. Instead, we need to look at a Twitter feed as a unit of analysis, taking someone’s entire […]

Metrics and the death of imagination

In John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture, there’s an interesting remark about the structural position of first time authors which I think has wider purchase. From pg 200: Ironically, in a world preoccupied by numbers, the author with no track is in some ways in a strong position, considerably stronger than […]

Bounded autonomy in the workplace

In John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture, he describes what might be termed the bounded autonomy enjoyed by some editorial teams within publishing houses. From pg 128: the devolution of editorial decision-making to small editorial teams operating with a high degree of autonomy within certain financial parameters is the best way […]

The Dispositions of the Metricised

In our discussion of metrics systems, it’s easy to treat subjectivity as a cipher, regarding people as passively moulded by algorithms or blindly governed by the incentives that operate through the institutionalisation of the metrics. My objection to the former is not the claim that people are shaped by metrics, but rather the […]

The Second Accelerated Academy

Good news! This week it was learnt that CWTS will play host to the second annual conference ‘The Accelerated Academy: Evaluation, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life’. Generously sponsored by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, the event will take place from 30th November to 2nd December 2016 […]

Viral lift

An interesting snippet in this Fast Company profile of BuzzFeed about their viral lift metric and how this trumps page views as a measure of success: Stopera, an Internet savant so steeped in pop culture that he appeared on an episode of MTV’s Fanography as a teenager for his “psychotic” love of Britney […]

the pleasures of knowing where you stand 

From page 75 of Brad Stone’s excellent book The Everything Store: In early 1998, Bezos was closely involved with a department called Personalization and Community, which was geared toward helping customers discover books, music, and movies they might find interesting. That May, he surveyed what was then Amazon’s Hot 100 […]

CfP: Power, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life, 2nd-4th December 2015, Prague

Power, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life, 2nd-4th December 2015, Prague Call for papers: Power, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life There is little doubt that science and knowledge production are presently undergoing dramatic and multi-layered transformations accompanied by new imperatives reflecting broader socio-economic and technological developments. The unprecedented proliferation […]

Metrics in international #highered

This article by John Holmwood is worth reading: There are few national systems of higher education that are immune from their effects, though their use is more extensive and systematic in some places, rather than others. They seem to have gone furthest in national systems with a high proportion of […]

Metrics and Measurement in #HigherEd

Paul Kirby and Meera Sabaratnam have written a thought-provoking response to the HEFCE consultation on using metrics for research assessment. Archived here because I plan on coming back to this properly at a later date. This is their account of the motivations driving this turn towards metrics, which they go on […]