Re: On Metrics and Metaphysics

From: J.F.Rowland <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 18:23:27 +0100

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On Sun, 19 Oct 2008 23:25:28 -0400
 Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 19, 2008 at 8:16 PM, Heather Morrison
> <> wrote:

> > Literature - authors. There are many researchers
> > studying
> > Shakespeare. A lesser-known local author will be lucky
> > to receive
> > the attention of even one researcher. In a
> > metrics-based system, it
> > seems reasonable to hypothesize that this bias will
> > increase, and the
> > odds of studying local culture decrease.
> What bias? If a lesser-known researcher does good work,
> it will be
> used, and this will be reflected in the metrics.

Stevan - You misunderstood Heather's point. She didn't say the researcher -
the author of the current research article in question - was little-known.
She said the literary author that (s)he was studying was little-known.
Therefore, not many researchers will be interested in that literary author,
so not many people will cite the article, however good it is.

There is a real and valid point in Heather's message, and simply saying 'use
other metrics' is vague, to say the least. Please specify what metrics
might be used to provide a valid quality measure to the work of researchers
who study minority subjects which will excite interest, and therefore usage,
and citations, from only a few people worldwide.

Fytton Rowland, retired, formerly of Loughborough University, UK.
Received on Tue Oct 21 2008 - 21:56:07 BST

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