Research

How Evaluative Informetrics Relates to Scientific, Socio-Historical, Political, Ethical and Personal Values

Authors:

Abstract

Policy highlights:

  • If evaluation is defined as “a systematic determination of a subject’s merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards”, there is no evaluation without an evaluative framework specifying these criteria and standards.
  • On the other hand, evaluative informetrics itself, defined as the study of evaluative aspects of science and scholarship using citation analysis, altmetrics and other indicators, does not evaluate.
  • However, informetric indicators are often used in research assessment processes. To obtain a better understanding of their role, the links between evaluative informetrics and ‘values’ are investigated, and a series of practical guidelines are proposed.
  • Informetricians should maintain in their evaluative informetric studies a neutral position toward the policy issues addressed and the criteria specified in an evaluative framework.
  • As professional experts, informetricians’ competence lies primarily in the development and application of analytical models within the context of a given evaluative framework.
  • Informetric researchers could propose that evaluators and policy makers incorporate fundamental scientific values such as openness and adopting a critical attitude in assessment processes.
  • Informetricians could also promote and participate in an overall discussion within the academic community and the research policy domain about the objectives and criteria in research assessment processes and the role of informetric tools therein.

Evaluative informetrics is defined as the study of evaluative aspects of science and scholarship using informetric data and methodologies, such as citation analysis and altmetrics. Following the main lines of an article by the Dutch philosopher O.D. Duintjer, nine interfaces are distinguished between quantitative science studies, especially evaluative informetrics, and the domain of values, including scientific, socio-historical, political, ethical and personal norms and objectives. Special attention is given to the “principle of value neutrality” at the meta-level of methodological rules guiding scientific inquiry and to the crucial, independent role of evaluative frameworks in research evaluation. The implications of the various relationships between science and values for research practices in evaluative informetrics and for its application in research assessment are considered.

Keywords:

research evaluationassessmentbibliometricsinformetricscitation analysisindicatorsvaluesvalue neutrality
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 2 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 9
  • DOI: 10.29024/sar.18
  • Submitted on 14 May 2020
  • Accepted on 28 Jul 2020
  • Published on 14 Aug 2020
  • Peer Reviewed