10 abr. 2016

Opinions and use of scholarly metrics by a sample of faculty members at the University of Vermont

DeSanto, D., & Nichols, A.
Scholarly Metrics Baseline: A Survey of Faculty Knowledge, 
Use, and Opinion About Scholarly Metrics
College & Research Libraries2016, crl16-868. 

This article presents the results of a faculty survey conducted at the University of Vermont during academic year 2014-2015. Five guiding questions shaped our survey work:
 How familiar are faculty with scholarly metrics?
 How/why/when do they seek them out?
 Where do faculty turn for help?
 What role do scholarly metrics play in the tenure and promotion process?
 What opinions and thoughts do faculty members have about how well these metrics reflect the impact of a scholar’s work? 

During winter break 2014-2015, an online survey was distributed to all tenure-track faculty on campus with the exception of faculty in the College of Medicine. The survey was distributed to faculty on December 18th, 2014 and was closed on February 6th, 2015. Two reminders were sent out during this time period. Out of 470 faculty solicited for participation, 225 faculty began the survey and 206 completed it, providing a response rate of 44%.
Results are presented as the total of all survey respondents and are, for some questions, broken down by academic rank and/or disciplinary category. In order to present data that are statistically significant, we present data in three major disciplinary categories: sciences; social sciences, business, and social services; and humanities & arts. 
We define the term “scholarly metrics” to include both traditional impact metrics (e.g., hindex, ISI journal impact factor, SCImago journal rank) as well as citation count. We consider article-level metrics or “altmetrics” separately and posed questions specifically about altmetrics. 

Even though the results of this study can't be extrapolated to the general population of professors because of the specific nature of the sample (the opinion of 206 faculty members at the University of Vermont), they are interesting and constitute an excellent case study.
The main findings are summarised in the table below:
Regardless of the attention the results of this study may garner, to this blog (focused on sharing empirical evidences on Google Scholar), the most original aspect is how faculty members at the University of Vermont use platforms and bibliometric indicators, confirming the profound differences among disciplines. These are the main results:

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