Reflexive Bibliometrics

Start of the project: 2017-Apr-01 - End of the project: 2019-Mar-31

The project “reflexive bibliometrics” explores to what extend indicator-based evaluation of research performance leads to adaptive behavior of affected actors. The main focus is on the performativity of new metrics and on its influence on the practices of value attribution of researchers. Therefore the project links to current debates surrounding altmetrics as alternative measurements and evaluation tools for performance assessment in science beyond citation indices.

Academic social networking sites are a particularly interesting case in this context. They measure the activities of users on the platform, showcase them in form of a score for all users to see, and suggest interpreting this score as a scientific performance indicator. Here we can observe and examine instances of comparative evaluation by users induced by the provider of the platform. Academic social networking sites have established a new (e)valuation procedure by including the sharing of scientific content and connecting with other actors of the scientific community to the previously (publication) output-dominated dimensions of research performance assessment on a personal level. At the same time these new value regimes seem to aim directly at more user-platform interaction.

Aim of the project is to analyze the performativity of platform-specific metrics in the context of performance evaluation of researchers. How users interact with the platform will be explored, as well as the influence of this interaction on evaluation of scientific performance and thus on scientific knowledge production.

In doing so the project connects current discussions regarding altmetrics to the sociology of (e)valuation, research on the quantified self, and the sociology of platforms.