In December Karen Kastenhofer presented some positions on metrics and altmetrics at an online event of the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research on behalf of the Elise Richter Network. This event was the first of a planned event series on the topics of research assessment and matrics based evaluation following closely initiatives such as DORA, the Leiden Manifesto, the GB Metric Tide project and CoARA. Present in the meeting were ca. 45 employees of the ministry and several researchers and research managers. Another presentation was provided by Falk Reckling, FWF.
In the introductory statement, Elmar Pichl (BMBWF) focused on trust in science and science communication, the evaluation of individuals vs the evaluation of institutions and the current focus on SDGs. Falk Reckling’s (FWF) input emphasised the information flood, authorship and commercialisation. Karen’s presentation had the title: “Insights into the practice and experience of assessing scientific performance from the perspective of researchers.” Among other topics, she stressed the diversity of research and publication cultures, which make a unifying approach difficult and counterproductive. Furthermore, despite several benefits (i.e. making a whole range research outputs visible and not just journal articles) alternative metrics bring about many other problems like precarious data sources and lack of accountability. Karen reports that the exchange was very constructive and informative. In the discussion she could link the topic of metrics with other pressing issues like current career options (or, the lack thereof), leaky pipe lines and missing ressources. We look forward to seeing science policy continue to address this issue in depth and maintain that, particularly in the context of metrics (conventional or alternative), it is precisely the underlying biases in the data and methods that must be considered, which often take effect particularly in the direction of gender or origin.
You can read and download Karen’s presentation below.