Publication and citation

Yesterday I had a conversation with a senior colleague where we briefly discussed the increasing importance of formal publication as it relates to promotion at our institution. Since I’m doing my PhD through publication, I’m also working on how to fit my needs as a student into the university’s need for academics to publish. There’s always been a strong research focus at the university, although during the past few years the intensity has definitely stepped up a notch. Now, I don’t agree that formal publication is the best way to disseminate information and research results but I know that in order to be eligible for promotion, it’s a game I have to play.

We were talking about the fact that it’s not just how many articles you publish (we’re required to put out 3 in a 2 year cycle) but the “quality” of what you put out. I asked how they measure “quality” and she mentioned number of citations and impact factor. I can see how this is one way that you could determine how “important” your paper is (I just realised that we still call them papers, even when they’re digital), but what about other ways?

I asked if they considered search engine results or other basic statistics in their measures and I wasn’t talking about Google Scholar results. I was more interested in whether or not they would look at things like how widely read your blog is, how many monthly unique hits you got, who links to you, etc. Do they consider the many other forms of academic publication that today’s researcher has at their disposal, as well as forms of citation other than journal references?

They don’t.