Academic Metrics and Positioning Strategies

Metric Culture

ISBN: 978-1-78743-290-1, eISBN: 978-1-78743-289-5

Publication date: 24 September 2018


Since the 1980s, higher education institutions in many developed Western countries have been facing competition for resources, have undergone economic rationalisation, adopted a New Public Management style of performance management and aspired to meet global standards of quality. This chapter explores the self-tracking practices of academic institutions and workers as they negotiate a field that has moved away from a quality evaluation system based primarily on social reputation towards one based increasingly on quantified outcome indicators. Universities typically measure research performance not only in terms of quantity of outputs but also the ‘attention capital’ they receive, for example, the number of citations or awards and prizes. These metrics and the emphasis on attention capital generally encourage a culture of competition rather than collaboration, while promoting the ‘celebrification’ of academic life. We argue that this trend has been intensified by technologies that gamify research achievements, continuously update citation and ‘read’ counts, and promote networked reputation. Under these conditions, academic institutions and workers have attempted to pursue a variety of positioning strategies that represent different degrees of conformity, resistance and compromise to the power of metrics.



Janet Chan, Fleur Johns and Lyria Bennett Moses (2018). 'Academic Metrics and Positioning Strategies', in Btihaj Ajana (ed.) Metric Culture. Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 177-195

Download as .RIS





Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.