Statement Urges Caution Toward Academic Analytics

The AAUP Executive Committee issued a statement on March 22 about institutions' use of private "metrics providers" such as Academic Analytics to compile quantitative data about faculty research. While such services promise "objective" data about faculty productivity, some of the firm's metrics lack any qualitative dimension. The statement urges colleges and universities to exercise extreme caution in deciding whether to subscribe to external sources of data and to avoid making decisions about tenure and promotion based primarily on such data. 

One institution where Academic Analytics has become controversial is Rutgers University, which signed a four‐year, $492,500 contract with the firm in 2013. The university claims the data it has received is valuable, but faculty members say the company's reports are inaccurate and worry that a focus on research productivity data will damage the quality of teaching. These concerns, along with objections to the contract's limitations on who is able to access data, led faculty of the university's School of Arts and Sciences to vote overwhelmingly in December to forbid use of the firm's data in tenure and promotion decisions and to call on the university to distribute data compiled by the company to faculty.

Read the statement (.pdf).

Publication Date: 
Monday, March 28, 2016