Altmetric Blog

Identifying a Possible Suite of (Alt)metrics for Creative and Performing Arts Faculty

Guest Author, 8th July 2019

Christina Chan-Park, Science Librarian at Baylor University, describes the 2019 Altmetric Research Grant winning project that her team intends on completing.

Our research team from Baylor University (Christina Chan-Park, Science Librarian; Clayton Crenshaw, Music Librarian; and Sha Towers, Interim Associate Dean of Central Libraries and liaison librarian to art and theatre) is honored and excited to receive the 2019 Altmetric grant. Our research is motivated by the trend at Baylor, as at many other universities, to showcase the impact of its faculty through data. Research information management (RIM) systems such as Digital Measures and Academic Analytics are increasingly used to collect and analyze this information.

Many faculty members in the creative and performing arts produce non-traditional outputs.  They can often feel frustrated by not having readily available data about these outputs and may feel that they are at a disadvantage to their peers.  Examples of their research and scholarship activity might include musical compositions and recordings, set designs, choreography, gallery exhibitions, and recitals. Most of these do not have traditional metrics, or even altmetrics, associated with them, but that does not minimize their scholarly and wider impact.  

Our project will identify and describe possible types of data that arts faculty consider meaningful for discovering and showcasing the impact of their outputs, thus establishing an assessment toolbox for their use.  We will begin with a thorough search of the literature and existing academic websites, to compile for the creative and performing arts a set of outputs and corresponding data that could potentially capture both scholarly and wider impacts.  From this review, we will create surveys directed at arts librarians and faculty to assess the feasibility (appropriateness and practicality) of collecting and using these data. Gathering this input will bring more of these faculty members into the conversation about scholarly impact. 

After analyzing the survey responses, we plan to produce a set of recommendations or best practices for collecting data that can be used by individual faculty members or departments in the arts.  We also hope to make recommendations on how institutional reporting systems (like Digital Measures, Academic Analytics, or Pure) could be adapted to capture and contextualize these data. In addition, impact tracking systems (like Altmetric, PlumX, or Dimensions) might use our results to enhance the ability of their systems to track more diverse faculty outputs.

We look forward to working with Altmetric on this project and sharing the fruit of our labor with the larger scholarly community. 

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