[Sigmetrics] Citizen bibliometrics - an alternative take

Björn Hammarfelt bjorn.hammarfelt at hb.se
Mon Sep 19 02:47:50 EDT 2016

In view of the interesting and important paper on citizen bibliometrics 
by Leydesdorff, Wouters and Bornman we wish to share our own modest take 
on this concept. While our account can, and should, be seen as 
complimentary to the overview provided by the authors above, we also add 
to the arguments made. In particular our study emphasizes that 'citizien 
bibliometricans' (in our case researchers using bibliometrics in 
assessment reports regarding candidates for academic positions) actually 
modify, construct and deconstruct indicators; they are not passive 
end-users. Moreover, it's not uncommon that they show to be quite 
knowledgeable about the strength and weaknesses of particular indicators.

*Judging merits in the age of the h-index: Citizen bibliometrics in 
biomedicine and economics*

Bjorn Hammarfelt, Alexander D. Rushforth

*Abstract*: The number of publications has been a fundamental merit in 
the competition for academic positions since the late 18th century. 
Today, the simple counting of publications has been supplemented with a 
whole range of bibliometric measures, which supposedly not only measures 
the volume of research but also its impact. In this study, we 
investigate how bibliometrics are used for evaluating the impact and 
quality of publications in two specific settings: biomedicine and 
economics. Our study exposes the extent and type of metrics used in 
external evaluations of candidates for academic positions at Swedish 
universities. Moreover, we show how different bibliometric indicators, 
both explicitly and implicitly, are employed to value and rank 
candidates. Our findings contribute to a further understanding of 
bibliometric indicators as judgment devices that are employed in 
evaluating individuals and their published works within specific fields. 
We also show how expertise in using bibliometrics for evaluative 
purposes is negotiated at the interface between domain knowledge and 
skills in using indicators. In line with these results we propose that 
the use of metrics in this context is best described as a form of 
citizen bibliometrics - an underspecified term which we build upon in 
the paper.

pre-print available at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1609.04931

On 16/09/16 08:24, Loet Leydesdorff wrote:
> *Professional and Citizen Bibliometrics: Complementarities and 
> ambivalences in the development and use of indicators 
> <http://arxiv.org/abs/1609.04793>
> *
> Loet Leydesdorff, Paul Wouters, and Lutz Bornmann
> *Abstract:* Bibliometric indicators such as journal impact factors, 
> h-indices, and total citation counts are algorithmic artifacts that 
> can be used in research evaluation and management. These artifacts 
> have no meaning by themselves, but receive their meaning from 
> attributions in institutional practices. We distinguish four main 
> stakeholders in these practices: (1) producers of bibliometric data 
> and indicators; (2) bibliometricians who develop and test indicators; 
> (3) research managers who apply the indicators; and (4) the scientists 
> being evaluated with potentially competing career interests. These 
> different positions may lead to different and sometimes conflicting 
> perspectives on the meaning and value of the indicators. The 
> indicators can thus be considered as boundary objects which are 
> socially constructed in translations among these perspectives. This 
> paper proposes an analytical clarification by listing an informed set 
> of (sometimes unsolved) problems in bibliometrics which can also shed 
> light on the tension between simple but invalid indicators that are 
> widely used (e.g., the h-index) and more sophisticated indicators that 
> are not used or cannot be used in evaluation practices because they 
> are not transparent for users, cannot be calculated, or are difficult 
> to interpret.
> Preprint available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1609.04793
> ** apologies for cross-postings.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Loet Leydesdorff
> Professor, University of Amsterdam
> Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
> loet at leydesdorff.net <mailto:loet at leydesdorff.net>; 
> http://www.leydesdorff.net/
> Associate Faculty, SPRU, <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/>University of 
> Sussex;
> Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/>, 
> Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, 
> <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html>Beijing;
> Visiting Professor, Birkbeck <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/>, University of 
> London;
> http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en
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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; b.m.s.hammarfelt at cwts.leidenuniv.nl
Work: 033-435 40 00
Cell: (0046)-737277921

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