Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • Publication
    Meanings of information: The assumptions and research consequences of three foundational LIS theories
    (Wiley, 2012-04)
    This article addresses the question 'what is information?' by comparing the meaning of the term 'information' and epistemological assumptions of three theories in library and information science: the 'Shannon-Weaver model,' Brookes’ interpretation of Popper's World 3, and the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom model. It shows that the term 'information' in these theories refers to empirical entities or events and is conceptualized as having causal powers upon human minds. It is argued that the epistemological assumptions have led to the negligence of the cultural and social aspects of the constitution of information (i.e., how something is considered to be and not to be information) and the unquestioned nature of science in research methodologies.
  • Publication
    How 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.
      227Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Metrics 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.
      159Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    A scoping review of simulation models of peer review
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-08-19) ; ; ; ; ;
    Peer review is a process used in the selection of manuscripts for journal publication and proposals for research grant funding. Though widely used, peer review is not without flaws and critics. Performing large-scale experiments to evaluate and test correctives and alternatives is difficult, if not impossible. Thus, many researchers have turned to simulation studies to overcome these difficulties. In the last ten years this field of research has grown significantly but with only limited attempts to integrate disparate models or build on previous work. Thus, the resulting body of literature consists of a large variety of models, hinging on incompatible assumptions, which have not been compared, and whose predictions have rarely been empirically tested. This scoping review is an attempt to understand the current state of simulation studies of peer review. Based on 46 articles identified through literature searching, we develop a proposed taxonomy of model features that include model type (e.g. formal models vs. ABMs or other) and the type of modeled peer review system (e.g. peer review in grants vs. in journals or other). We classify the models by their features (including some core assumptions) to help distinguish between the modeling approaches. Finally, we summarize the models’ findings around six general themes: decision-making, matching submissions/reviewers, editorial strategies; reviewer behaviors, comparisons of alternative peer review systems, and the identification and addressing of biases. We conclude with some open challenges and promising avenues for future modeling work.
    Scopus© Citations 21  367
  • Publication
    No metrics for postdocs: Precarious labour in science policy
    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.
  • Publication
    A sign on a tree: A case for 'public knowledge'
    (John Hopkins University Press, 2015)
    Can information be objective and/or subjective? Based on Patrick Wilson’s notion of public knowledge and a story of a sign on a tree, this paper argues that private information is not the same as subjective information, and that the very communicative process of making information makes information objective. It also argues that the objective sense of information—public knowledge—has been and will be most relevant to information science, hence questions concerning collective responsibility in collecting, preserving, and organizing information shall be considered.
      388Scopus© Citations 1
  • Publication
    Evaluation complacency or evaluation inertia? A study of evaluative metrics and research practices in Irish universities
    (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-07) ;
    Evaluative metrics have been used for research assessment in most universities and funding agencies with the assumption that more publications and higher citation counts imply increased productivity and better quality of research. This study investigates the understanding and perceptions of metrics, as well as the influences and implications of the use of evaluative metrics on research practices, including choice of research topics and publication channels, citation behavior, and scholarly communication in Irish universities. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with researchers from the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences in various career stages. Our findings show that there are conflicting attitudes toward evaluative metrics in principle and in practice. The phenomenon is explained by two concepts: evaluation complacency and evaluation inertia. We conclude that evaluative metrics should not be standardized and institutionalized without a thorough examination of their validity and reliability and without having their influences on academic life, research practices, and knowledge production investigated. We also suggest that an open and public discourse should be supported for the discussion of evaluative metrics in the academic community.
  • Publication
    School Libraries Survey 2019 Report
    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.
  • Publication
    Money, Morale, and Motivation: A Study of the Output-Based Research Support Scheme in University College Dublin
    (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-07-18)
    Adapted from the Norwegian model, University College Dublin has implemented the Output-Based Research Support Scheme (OBRSS) to stimulate research performance. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to understand the perception of the OBRSS after two years of implementation, its implications on research and publication practices, and the responses to monetary reward as an incentive. This study shows that the effects of the OBRSS on publication practices are intertwined with intrinsic and instrumental values. More importantly and unexpectedly, the study reveals the norms and values concerning academic integrity and research culture, the importance of intrinsic motivation in research and scholarship, as well as morale issues in academic work environment. The findings are consistent with studies of self-determination theory that an incentive scheme can be highly effective if it conveys clear goals and values with a vision of enhanced intrinsic motivation; however, a scheme can be demoralizing when it is perceived as a controlling mechanism.
      426Scopus© Citations 5
  • Publication
    When data replace norms: Platformisation of knowledge production
    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.