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HuMetricsHSS Develops Values-based Scholarly Measures

What would it look like if measures for assessing scholarship embodied humane values like equity, openness, collegiality, quality, and community?

Across disciplines, incentives and reward structures in academia are widely perceived to be misaligned with scholarly values. In the humanities and social sciences, this problem is exacerbated by pressures to quantify scholarly achievement through standardized metrics that are based on the practices of more scientifically oriented scholarship.

HuMetricsHSS is an initiative to develop and implement new methods for assessing the nature and quality of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. Comprised of individuals and organizations from the academic and nonprofit sectors, HuMetricsHSS is creating and supporting a values-based framework for understanding and evaluating all aspects of the scholarly life well-lived and for promoting the nurturing of these values in scholarly practice.

“This work will provide a framework for measuring impact that reflects the values and modes of inquiry in our fields,” said co-investigator Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland.

Screnshot of Humanities Values infographic
Humanities values infographic, image CC-BY by HuMetricsHSS

In August 2019, Michigan State University received a grant of $695,000 to advance the work of HuMetricsHSS through onsite workshops at research institutions in the United States and the European Union, research on scholarly evaluation, and the creation of a values tool kit. Over an 18-month period, the HuMetricsHSS team will visit with librarians and academic administrators at every Big Ten Academic Alliance campus to learn and assess how these institutions use metrics in the humanities and social sciences.

In a blog post about the development of the initiative, HuMetricsHSS co-investigator Christopher P. Long, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University, wrote that “a critical component of [the] emerging #HuMetrics conversation…involves finding ways to expose, highlight, and recognize the important scholarship that goes into the all-too-hidden work of peer review, syllabus development, conference organizing, mentoring, etc.”

For more information about HuMetricsHSS, read the August 20, 2019, MSUToday story, “Mellon Grant Supports Values-based Metrics Initiative to Transform Higher Education,” or visit the HuMetricsHSS website.

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