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- PublicationMetrics and epistemic injustice(Emerald, 2022-05-10)Purpose: This paper examines the socio-political affordances of metrics in research evaluation and the consequences of epistemic injustice in research practices and recorded knowledge. Design/methodology/approach: First, the use of metrics is examined as a mechanism that promotes competition and social acceleration. Second, it is argued that the use of metrics in a competitive research culture reproduces systemic inequalities and leads to epistemic injustice. The conceptual analysis draws on works of Hartmut Rosa and Miranda Fricker, amongst others. Findings: The use of metrics is largely driven by competition such as university rankings and league tables. Not only that metrics are not designed to enrich academic and research culture, they also suppress the visibility and credibility of works by minorities. As such, metrics perpetuate epistemic injustice in knowledge practices; at the same time, the reliability of metrics for bibliometric and scientometric studies is put into question. Social implications: As metrics leverage who can speak and who will be heard, epistemic injustice is reflected in recorded knowledge and what we consider to be information. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the discussion of metrics beyond bibliometric studies and research evaluation. It argues that metrics-induced competition is antithetical to equality and diversity in research practices.
24Scopus© Citations 1
- PublicationNo metrics for postdocs: Precarious labour in science policy(2021-07-15)In recent years, the pressure of producing impacts such as the creation of intellectual property and other commercialisation activities ('knowledge transfer') has increasingly dominated the discourse of research institutions and universities. Research projects can be comparable to 'gigs' when they employ postdocs on precarious fixed-term contracts. However, there seems to be little consideration in research and science policy about the career development of postdocs beyond funded projects and there seems to be no metrics about the contributions of postdocs to knowledge production, nor data about 'brain drain' as a result of precarious contracts. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with postdocs, PIs, and support staff, this study aims to understand the perceived roles of postdocs as a career stage and the perceived success factors that help them transitioning from precarious contracts to long-term academic/research positions. The work-in-progress paper will discuss some preliminary findings including the meanings and contexts of postdoc, as well as the problems and issues of precarious, fixed-term contracts in relation to publication and knowledge production. This paper also calls for comprehensive data collection and analysis about the contributions by postdoctoral researchers and the potential loss of knowledge as a result of the precariousness of academic career.
- PublicationWhen data replace norms: Platformisation of knowledge production(2021-08-13)Little attention has been paid to the research infrastructure that is tracing, tracking, monitoring and benchmarking individuals' and groups' performance and their implications for epistemic cultures and knowledge production. This paper discusses how the use of evaluative metrics and the dominence of data analytics can lead to platformisation of knowledge production by examining the normative view of science and epistemic cultures and the current development of research infrastructure such as vertical integration of research products. This paper argues that the dominance of commercial platformisation can decimate the negotiation powers of those who produce and review scientific outputs because researchers are acculturated to chase after funding, metrics, and data-driven economic and societal impacts. It is the objective of this paper to open up critical examination of the platformisation of knowledge production.
- PublicationSchool Libraries Survey 2019 Report(2020-12-30)School libraries in Ireland have not been surveyed and recorded before. As of today, there is no official or unofficial number of school libraries in Ireland and we know little about their functions and provisions in primary and post-primary schools. The School Libraries Survey was conducted in collaboration with Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) and the School Library Association of the Republic of Ireland (SLARI) as an initial step to examine the situations of school libraries in the Republic of Ireland. The survey was open from 7th February 2019 until 22nd May 2019. The call for participation was disseminated using Twitter and the collaborators’ professional networks. Invitations were also sent by email to each school listed on the Department of Education and Skills website on 27th February 2019 and 15th May 2019. A total of 1138 responses were received, including approximately 785 primary schools and 353 secondary schools.
- PublicationHow to evaluate ex ante impact? An analysis of reviewers’ comments on impact statements in grant applications(Oxford University Press, 2020-10-01)Impact statements are increasingly required and assessed in grant applications. In this study, we used content analysis to examine the ‘comments on impact’ section of the postal reviews and related documents of Science Foundation Ireland’s Investigators’ Programme to understand reviewers’ ex ante impact assessment. We found three key patterns: (1) reviewers favoured short-term, tangible impacts, particularly commercial ones; (2) reviewers commented on process-oriented impact (formative) in a more concrete and elaborate manner than on outcome-oriented impact (summative); and (3) topics related to scientific impacts were widely discussed even though the impact section was to be used for evaluating economic and societal impacts. We conclude that for ex ante impact assessment to be effective, funding agencies should indicate the types of impact expected from research proposals clearly instead of a general ‘wish list’ and that more focus should be put on process-oriented impact than outcome-oriented impact.
24Scopus© Citations 6