DepositAltmetrics in Humanities and Social Sciences

The spread of open digital forms of scholarly communication, combined with increasing institutional pressure to track research “impact,” has encouraged scholars and administrators in the humanities and social sciences (HSS) to turn their attention to metrics that promise to help in the assessment of research outputs. As a result of the limitations of traditional bibliometrics, a number of alternative metrics systems for measuring research impact have recently gained popularity. These so-called “altmetrics” attempt to account not merely for citations of published scholarship in journal-based articles, but also mentions of the work in popular news outlets, inbound links to the work from social media, and capture of the work in social bookmarking and citation management systems, and seek to track other factors that collectively indicate the ways that a publication moves across the Internet. To assess the current state of altmetrics within HSS disciplines, this study proposed to develop a taxonomy of the altmetrics tools and measures most widely used by or familiar to researchers and scholars, with the goal of determining the current level of acceptance within the academic community of altmetrics, especially in relation to decisions concerning tenure and promotion. Our hope was that we might provide some guidance for department chairs and deans in HSS fields as they encounter requests for analytic data at the university level. We sought a more direct understanding of the state of altmetrics adoption and usage in the evaluation of research in HSS fields, as well an understanding of faculty and administrator perceptions of that usage. Where concerns about the uses of metrics in HSS remain, we also sought to begin an exploration of ways scholars and administrators in the fields we address might seek to provide better forms of articulation of the desired impact of research. This white paper details our investigation and conclusions.

DepositA “Reconstructed Sociology”: Democratic Vistas and the American Social Science Movement

Situates the composition of Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas—from manuscript notes, source material, and pilot essays to its publication as an 84-page pamphlet—within the intellectual tendencies of the Reconstruction-era American social science movement to reveal Whitman’s text as an important case study in the nascent discipline. In his program to cultivate a population of self-reliant, creative readers, Whitman examines the national histories of literary institutions; he meditates on the social reproduction of “taste” and its connections to political and economic power; and he conceives of a democratic reception theory based on a new ethics of reading, entering debates about the “best books” with the country’s newly professionalized class of librarians. This essay argues that in linking the transmission, reception, and circulation of “culture” to the nation’s social evolution, Whitman laid the groundwork for that concept’s adoption by future sociologists, anthropologists, and activists at the turn of the twentieth century.

DepositHuMetricsHSS: towards value-based indicators in the Humanities and Social Sciences

This presentation will introduce the HuMetricsHSS (Humane Metrics in the Humanities and Social Sciences) initiative, which aims to develop and support a values-based framework of indicators for excellence for the humanities and social science in academia and, by extension, academic libraries. This value-based evaluation paradigm uses metrics only to measure a scholar’s progress toward embodying five values that our initial research suggests are central to all HSS disciplines: Collegiality, Quality, Equity, Openness, Community. HuMetricsHSS is an underway endeavor by a team of scholars and information professionals working to find ways to expose, highlight, and recognize the important scholarship that goes into not only research activities, but also the all-too-hidden work of peer review, teaching, service, and mentoring. The framework will support scholars in telling a more textured and compelling story about the impact of their research and scholarship and the variety of ways it enriches the academic and public life. While the endeavor started as a North American initiative, our purpose is to engage the broadest audience possible in the process, and European academics and research libraries would be natural and important stakeholders from which we wish to have input and feedback from.

MemberMegan Meredith-Lobay

…Humanities and Social Sciences Research Analyst, Advanced Research Computing…
…eries of Scotland”. Archaeological Review from Cambridge, Vol. 20.1, pp. 97-110

Open Data Sets and Reports

Barsky, Eugene; Farrar, Paula ;  Meredith-Lobay, Megan; Mitchell, Marjorie ; Naslund, Jo Anne ; Sylka, Christina , (2017), “UBC Research Data Management Survey: Humanities and Social Sciences”, V2 [Version]

Megan Meredith-Lobay is the digital humanities and social sciences analyst for ARC at UBC. In addition, Megan serves on the Compute Canada Humanities and Social Sciences National Team as well as the Software Carpentry National Team. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge in Archaeology where she used a variety of computing resources to investigate ritual landscapes in Late Iron Age/Early Medieval Scotland.  Megan worked at the University of Alberta where she supported research computing for the Faculty of Arts, and at the University of Oxford where she was the programme coordinator for Digital Social Research, an Economic and Social Research Council project to promote advanced ICT in Social Science research.

DepositCroatian Language Standardization and the Production of Nationalized Political Subjects through Language? Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities

This paper focuses on language policy and social changes which have taken place in Croatia during and since the 1991-5 war. I first describe the historical background, the war and the nineties being marked by excesses of linguistic purism and prescriptivism, alongside the formation of post-Yugoslav states in which national belonging was key to defining citizenship. Through examining the relationship between changing linguistic and social orders, I raise a number of issues for discussion. I argue that the legal framework of minority language rights has consolidated and legitimated a nationalist imaginary, increasing social divisions and reinforcing hierarchies asserted by some nationalists between national categories. For this reason, I suggest that the uncritical endorsement of or promotion of linguistic diversity can be dangerous. Second, in an activist-anthropological vein, I discuss possible reasons why academics trained in the social sciences and humanities have rarely participated in sociolinguistic debates concerning the new Croatian standard. I suggest such discussions could greatly benefit from interventions by social scientists, so as to bring sociolinguistics into contact with other strands of the social sciences and humanities and move away from what I believe to be a problematic policy focus on “identity”.