Digitalisation and metrification of science using platform-based infrastructure

Start of the project: 01-Feb-2019 - End of the project: 31-Dec-2019

This project examines the link between platformizing processes and the emergence of new metrics in science. Currently, digital platforms are modifying scientific practices of communication, information, and evaluation in many ways. New providers such as ResearchGate and Mendeley are reaching millions of users and changing the way science is presented.

One specific property of these digital platforms is that they provide infrastructure that enables metrification of all information and activities to be carried out on the platforms. The resulting process data are available in aggregated form in real time via new providers such as and PlumX (Franzen 2015; Gauch and Blümel 2017) and form the basis of new metrics that are used by scientists and in demand by organisations. The direct aim of the metrics seems to be to increase activity on the platform. It is not yet clear how these metrics affect the perception of new forms of online communication, how relevant they are for the attention paid to scientific content, and how they contribute to stabilizing the digital platforms.

Against this background, the project examines the role of metrics in the establishment of these scientific platforms in more detail. How do they impact the distribution of attention in science? The research project operates at the interface between platform sociology (Gillespie 2010, 2015; van Dijck and Poell 2013) and infrastructure studies on the one hand, and on the other the sociologies of evaluation (Lamont, 2012) and quantification (Espeland and Stevens, 2008) on the other. The project’s initial assumption is that on the one hand, metrification pre-structures the possibilities of web-based behaviour according to the platform constructors’ intentions and can on the other hand influence the attractiveness of platform use. For this reason, platform-based metrics are a challenge not only for quantitative science research, but also for bilbliometrics, to the extent that they are seen as an alternative to established indicators and processes of the evaluation of research achievements.

Lead Researcher

Clemens Blümel
Clemens Blümel Lead Researcher +49 30 2064177-31

Press contact

Daniel Matthes
Daniel Matthes +49 511 450670-532
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