Re:Publishing: Metrics, Alt-metrics, and Impact: What if we’re looking at all the wrong things?

Wednesday, April 4, noon-1pm

Old Chem 011

Register here:

Everyone has heard the old saw about “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Yet we continue to rely heavily on things we can count as shortcuts for evidence of complex and nuanced things. Like research impact, or academic “productivity”. How many books or articles have you published, how many citations do they have, what do the aggregate teaching evaluations say? Can these kinds of numbers really tell us what we need to know? What important nuances are left out? What kinds of behaviors do they incentivize, and what do they discount or discourage? How is this changing, or how should it be changing, patterns of scholarly publishing and research?

This event will feature a moderated discussion among members of the Duke community about all of these questions, and more. It will touch on both current and emerging methods for understanding impact, and their pros and cons.. How does “impact factor” work? New publication methods create the possibility for seeing the context and conversations around references to your work, in many contexts - not just other academic journals, but also NGO policy documents, news media, syllabi, Wikipedia entries, and social media. What can these tell us that simply counting citations can’t? How can you use these to show the value of your work and advance your career when citation counts for your work haven’t had time to build up yet? What approaches can we use to demonstrate the value and impact of works that aren’t publications, understanding that different disciplines have different patterns of what they create and how it gets disseminated and used. Can we develop “humane metrics” that will allow us to demonstrate other things we value, like collegiality, equity, and openness?

In the weeks following this discussion several workshops will be offered that delve deeper into specific topics that are raised, including tools and methods to help you understand, analyze, and report the indicators of value that are most appropriate to your context and career.


Karl Leif Bates

Director of Research Communication, Duke News & Communications

Karl edits, writes and produces research news from all units of Duke University for the Office of News and Communications. His work includes media relations, magazine stories and  multimedia for the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Pratt School of Engineering, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Health and the Duke Medical School.

As a science writer and editor, he spent more than a decade in newspapers more than a decade ago and has been in corporate and university relations ever since.

Karl is a former winner of the AAAS science journalism award and serves on advisory boards for the EurekAlert! news service and the Science Communicators of North Carolina. He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

Kevin W. Moore

Vice Dean for Faculty, Trinity Arts & Sciences

Kevin W. Moore is vice dean for faculty in Arts & Sciences.  In this role, he oversees the formal appointment, reappointment, promotion, and tenure processes, leaves, the appointment of department chairs, the review and selection of nominees for distinguished chairs, and faculty retirements.


Moore previously held appointments as a senior program director at the Social Science Research Council in New York, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, California State University, Hayward, the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, and worked as an independent journalist for The Nation magazine and the Pacifica Radio Network. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.  He is co-editor of Lessons of Empire: Imperial Histories and American Power (The New Press, 2006), and Critical Views of September 11 (The New Press, 2002).


Alexandra Sutton Lawrence

Science Policy Director, Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Alexandra Sutton Lawrence, Ph.D. is the Science Policy Program Director in the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, where she leads an interdisciplinary team of students, researchers, and postdoctoral fellows in providing free, unbiased, and publicly available coverage of new policy developments – all of which are available at SciPol focuses on tracking policy relevant to our five focal areas: energy, genetics & genomics, neuroscience, nanotech, and robotics/artificial intelligence. In these five (and growing!) key areas, we publish policy briefs and analyses that describe changes to policy, explain the scientific complexities underlying to new developments, and create opportunities for scientific engagement in the policymaking process.


Current projects at SciPol include the Science Policy Summer Institute and a project underway to design a SciScore metric for measuring dissonance between a proposed piece of legislation or public policy and the current scientific consensus.


Scott Lindroth

Vice Provost for the Arts

Scott Lindroth, a professor of music, became vice provost for the arts in 2007.


Lindroth has worked closely with Duke arts departments, Duke Performances and the Nasher Museum of Art to expand and coordinate arts programming on campus. He oversees the Visiting Artist in Residence program and organizes the annual Duke Arts Festival.  Lindroth also works with the American Dance Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival to build strong arts collaborations between Duke and the local community.


Since joining the Duke faculty in 1990, Lindroth has taught music composition, theory, computer music and other music subjects.

Lindroth’s compositions have been performed by the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and many other chamber ensembles in the United States and Europe. Lindroth has received many awards and honors over his career, including the Rome Prize Fellowship, the New York Philharmonic Revson Fellowship, and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters.   

To learn more after the panel, you should plan to attend this workshop:

Exploring Research Impact: Methods and Tools
Wednesday, April 18, 2-3pm
Rubenstein Library 349 (Breedlove Conference Room)

Join us on Wednesday, April 18 from 2:00-3:00pm for a workshop exploring the concepts and practices around research impact, or how your research papers, data, code, and other outputs are being used both inside and outside the academy. We will be exploring the basics of research impact measurement, such as h-index and journal impact factor and altmetrics. The workshop is hands-on. Bring a laptop and participate in using tools provided by the Duke Libraries to discover how your research is being talked about and used: your research impact.

**Please register for this workshop


Duke University Libraries thank their co-sponsors for lending support and ideas for this event:

Forum for Scholars and Publics •  Digital Scholarship Services (Duke University Libraries) • Office of Copyright & Scholarly Communication (Duke University Libraries) • Research & Instructional Services (Duke University Libraries) •  Duke Learning Innovation (DLI)  Office of Interdisciplinary Studies  •  John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (Digital Humanities Initiative, PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, and Humanities Publishing Initiative)  • Duke University Press  •  Wired! Lab for Digital Art, History, and Visual Culture