[Sigmetrics] Research assessment in the humanities - towards criteria and procedures

Ochsner Michael michael.ochsner at gess.ethz.ch
Mon Apr 25 14:31:59 EDT 2016

Dear Matt,

thank you for your interest in the book! You are right, you won’t find a definition of “the humanities”. The book has not the goal to define what the humanities are and how they should be assessed in a top-down manner but to look into *bottom-up* procedures coming from disciplines or scholars that consider themselves as humanities scholars or disciplines. Hence the title.

The bottom-up approach of this book is not compatible with a hard definition nor with a clear working definition of “the humanities”. Furthermore, since evaluation practices and tools from many different countries are presented in the volume, it would be impossible to find a definition that holds for the traditions in all those countries. Of course, the disciplines covered in this book have some things in common, amongst many other things, they are usually not driven by a dominant paradigm but by a plurality of paradigms, they do not follow the notion of linear progress, they use books as an important means of dissemination, they use multiple and regional languages, and they are not covered adequately in the usual commercial citation and publication data bases (however, I would never call this a definition of humanities).

By the way: the book is open access, you can read the introduction (or/and the abstract of each chapter) to get the general idea behind the book/chapters.

I hope I could clarify.

Best regards,
Dr. Michael Ochsner
Social Psychology and Research on Higher Education
ETH Zurich
Muhlegasse 21
8001 Zurich
Tel. +41 44 632 44 16
Fax +41 44 632 12 83
ochsner at gess.ethz.ch<mailto:ochsner at gess.ethz.ch>

On 25 Apr 2016, at 18:09, Matthew Marsteller <matthewm at andrew.cmu.edu<mailto:matthewm at andrew.cmu.edu>> wrote:

One of the first things that I tried to determine quickly  was the definition of “Humanities” per this book.  In the U.S., there is often a separation of fine arts from stuff like English and History (which at my university are considered the Humanities).  However, I’m finding the lack of a definition (at least a working definition) of the term in the front matter of the book a bit … unhelpful.  Comments?

Matthew R. Marsteller
Senior Librarian, Engineering & Sciences
Roger Sorrells Engineering & Science Library
4400 Wean Hall
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA  15213-3890
Email:  matthewm at andrew.cmu.edu<mailto:matthewm at andrew.cmu.edu>
Phone:  412-268-7212

From: SIGMETRICS <sigmetrics-bounces at asis.org<mailto:sigmetrics-bounces at asis.org>> on behalf of Björn Hammarfelt <bjorn.hammarfelt at hb.se<mailto:bjorn.hammarfelt at hb.se>>
Date: Monday, April 25, 2016 at 3:38 AM
To: "sigmetrics at mail.asis.org<mailto:sigmetrics at mail.asis.org>" <sigmetrics at mail.asis.org<mailto:sigmetrics at mail.asis.org>>
Subject: [Sigmetrics] Research assessment in the humanities - towards criteria and procedures

Research Assessment in the Humanities - Towards Criteria and Procedures

Editors: Ochsner, Michael, Hug, Sven E., Daniel, Hans-Dieter (Eds.)
This book analyzes and discusses the recent developments for measuring research quality in social sciences and the humanities. Research assessments in the humanities are highly controversial and the evaluation of humanities research is delicate. While citation-based research performance indicators are widely used in the natural and life sciences, quantitative measures for research performance meet strong opposition in the humanities. This volume combines the presentation of state-of-the-art projects on research assessments in the humanities by humanities scholars themselves with a description of the evaluation of humanities research in practice presented by research funders. Bibliometric issues concerning humanities research complete the exhaustive analysis of humanities research assessment. The selection of authors is well-balanced between humanities scholars, research funders, and researchers on higher education. Hence, the edited volume succeeds in painting a comprehensive picture of research evaluation in the humanities. This book is valuable to university and science policy makers, university administrators, research evaluators, bibliometricians as well as humanities scholars who seek expert knowledge in research evaluation in the humanities.
Available online: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-29016-4

Björn Hammarfelt, PhD
Lektor / Senior lecturer
Bibliotekshögskolan / Swedish School of Library and Information Science
Högskolan i Borås / University of Borås
Visiting scholar at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) Leiden University
E- mail:bjorn.hammarfelt at hb.se<mailto:mail:bjorn.hammarfelt at hb.se>; b.m.s.hammarfelt at cwts.leidenuniv.nl<mailto:b.m.s.hammarfelt at cwts.leidenuniv.nl>
Work: 033-435 40 00
Cell: (0046)-737277921

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