Metric Toolkit

About this idea

We are here today to call bullshit on the rhetoric surrounding metrics

Metrics do not equal quality or impact.

Graduate students, faculty, administrators use metrics without understanding their meaning and value. The abuse of metrics runs rampant, and altmetrics are at risk of becoming just another number that faculty shoehorn into their tenure dossiers, selecting the numbers that make them look the brilliant-est. We need a way that empowers people to call b.s. on the misuse of metrics. 

6 million academics, 11 million graduate students use or are evaluated using metrics in competition for a shrinking pool of jobs and funding.  Many kinds of contributions are made invisible by the over-reliance on and misuse of traditional metrics.  And, the qualitative contexts of academic and popular attention are often ignored.

We all hate it, but what are we gonna do about it?

Our solution? To build a digital stomping ground that points  scientists, scholars, academic administrators, and funders to the research-backed metrics that can best support  their claims to fame and answer impact questions.

Users will be able to navigate the site from two directions.

The metric dashboard will allow users to browse different metrics and quickly learn about their scope, strengths, and weaknesses.   

The metric selector will match impact questions to appropriate metrics.  Guiding users to the best tools for their use cases.   

In both cases, need to know and standard information will be linked to each metric, such as level, type, source, application, and misuse warnings.

We have the connections and a plan to reach the convinced, the unconvinced, and the clueless.

We’ll develop this guide in the open, and share the resulting webapp and print guide openly, free for reuse and remixing.

We’ve got on-the-ground outreach experts on our team, who are THE BEST at making 1-1 connections with administrators, faculty, and students, which is crucial to building buy-in. And we’ve got killer online marketing expertise, to boot, which will get us grassroots traction in social media, press like the Chronicle for Higher Ed and Times Higher Ed (in the UK), and (hopefully) endorsements from organizations like the AAUP and SPARC.

Most importantly, we’ve got YOU--the Force11 community--to help us get the street cred and word of mouth needed to promote this tool among department heads and other academic tastemakers.

We need this Innovation grant to pay for a designer to make a tool as appealing as it is useful. They’ll design the print version of this guide and advise on the webapp’s look and feel.

And as many of you know, that kind of expertise isn’t cheap.

We’ve already got promises of matching cash and in-kind donations from all the organizations affiliated with this project.

Now we just need your votes to make it happen.