Greetings, and welcome to Day 6 of the U-M Library Research Impact Challenge!
The challenges for days 1-5 focused on managing your scholarly identity online. Starting with Day 6 we’re shifting gears to talk about how scholarly work makes a difference, and how those contributions are measured, reported, and valued. There are very specific ways to address different aspects of research impact—measures such as the Journal Impact Factor and the author h-index come to mind—and we’ll talk about some of these in the coming days.
But today—and all of this week—I invite you to think broadly and inclusively about the work you’re doing, why it matters, and how you can effectively communicate that message to someone else, whether a member of the public, a scholar in a different field, or an administrator evaluating your productivity.
Rather than jumping right into the metrics and tools used to evaluate research, then, today’s exercise focuses on you and your work. Let’s get started.
1. Use this worksheet to indicate all the types of scholarly work that you do (probably much more than you realize!), and to what extent that work is valued by you, your peers, and those who may be in a position to evaluate you. You may print the worksheet to fill it out by hand, or go to File -> Make a copy to create a copy of the worksheet that you can modify and add to your own Google Drive space. A few caveats as you tackle this challenge:
The goal of this exercise is to arrive at a clear, current, and comprehensive awareness of your scholarly labor, as well as your own assumptions about what work is important, that you can bring to bear on the rest of the week’s exercises.
2. From the worksheet, pick one area of work that is important to you, but that you’ve chosen to exclude from your CV, or that you anticipate won’t help you in an evaluation. In an ideal world, how would you express the impact of this work? Consider what indicators of success you would be looking for, how you would capture them, and how you would communicate them in a systematic way.
Bonus Challenge: Locate the guidelines or evaluation criteria for the next major milestone at which you expect to be evaluated (application for a postdoc position, third year review, application for promotion, etc.). Read the requirements with fresh eyes, reflecting on your assessment of your own work. Is there alignment between what’s important to you, what you’re doing, and what’s expected?
Across disciplines, groups of scholars are working together to establish new norms for evaluating scholarly work. Here are a few examples:
Congratulations! You've completed Day 6 of the Research Impact Challenge! Today we've reflected the work we do, and what gets counted. Tomorrow we'll start to dig into how scholarly impact is measured, how to identify useful metrics, and how to apply them appropriately.