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Journal cover: Campus-Wide Information Systems

Campus-Wide Information Systems

ISSN: 1065-0741

Online from: 1984

Subject Area: Education

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The quantitative crunch: The impact of bibliometric research quality assessment exercises on academic development at small conferences

Document Information:
Title:The quantitative crunch: The impact of bibliometric research quality assessment exercises on academic development at small conferences
Author(s):Michael Henderson, (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia), Simon Shurville, (School of Computer and Information Science, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia), Ken Fernstrom, (Communications Department, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, Canada)
Citation:Michael Henderson, Simon Shurville, Ken Fernstrom, (2009) "The quantitative crunch: The impact of bibliometric research quality assessment exercises on academic development at small conferences", Campus-Wide Information Systems, Vol. 26 Iss: 3, pp.149 - 167
Keywords:Australia, Conferences, Qualitative research, Quality assessment
Article type:Viewpoint
DOI:10.1108/10650740910967348 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – Small and specialist inter-disciplinary conferences, particularly those relating to technology enhanced learning such as International Conference on Information and Communications Technology in Education, provide valuable opportunities for academics and academic-related/professional staff to report upon their research and development activities, including their insights into teaching practice. However, the existence of such conferences is now under threat due to a global shift towards quantitative research assessment exercises, which favour bibliometrics, such as citation counts and impact factors, over peer review. The purpose of this paper is to contextualise the discussion by describing the nascent qualitative research assessment in Australia and its implications for small conferences. It also aims to present heuristic strategies to ensure that publications are recognised by quantitative research assessment exercises.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors draw on a wide literature base as well as their experience as academics, conference organizers, professional developers, and researchers to describe the changes to the culture of research assessment and research management and their observed implications for small and specialist inter-disciplinary conferences.

Findings – Conference organizers and scientific committees should consider several strategies to maximise bibliometric impact of conference papers. These strategies include: transparency in reviewing processes; building alliances with peer-reviewed journals; considering boutique “by invitation” conference formats; and publishing papers which are indexed and standards based. The authors also point out that small and specialist conferences should leverage their communities of practice to facilitate publication and research opportunities and thereby increase the tangible benefits of participation.

Originality/value – This paper is valuable to conference organizers and participants who are adjusting to a culture of bibliometrics. This paper highlights key issues as well as suggests strategies to improve impact values.

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