Predicting the future success of researchers and their research…academic moneyball

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A bit of a scary article on the LSE Impact blog. It is a piece about using various metrics to predict which academics will achieve future success, and also to predict which journal articles will be most successful. The idea being that decisions can then be made using these predictions. The authors of this could really do with reading Louise Amoore's recent book on The Politics of Possibility and Roger Burrows piece on ‘Living with the h-index‘. We can see here that the predictions are intended to become realities and to try to bypass human decision making. The project is an extension of the Moneyball approach, which is an approach used in sport that promotes decision making based on various forms of data. The idea is that you get ahead of the market by using such predictions, and that the data enables you to find future success. Is this something we really want? And how will the predictions become realities? I wrote a little bit about this in my post on algorithms in the academy. It seems important to me that we try to keep some critical distance from the use of metrics to predict and we certainly need to be aware of the politics of possibility that Amoore has described, particularly as it continues to reshape academic practice and decision making.

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This entry was posted in data and dataplay, future of sociology, infrastructures, metrics, university, visualisation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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