Rethinking humane indicators of excellence in the humanities and social sciences

About HuMetricsHSS

HuMetricsHSS is an initiative for rethinking humane indicators of excellence in academia, focused particularly on the humanities and social sciences (HSS). Comprised of individuals and organizations from the academic, commercial, and non-profit sectors, HuMetricsHSS endeavors to create and support a values-based framework for understanding and evaluating all aspects of the scholarly life well-lived and for promoting the nurturing of these values in scholarly practice. We are currently in the initial, exploratory phase of the project.

HuMetricsHSS logo

Strategic Approach

HuMetricsHSS takes the approach that metrics should only be used to measure a scholar’s progress toward embodying five values that our initial research suggests are central to all HSS disciplines:

  • COLLEGIALITY, which can be described as the professional practices of kindness, generosity, and empathy toward other scholars and oneself;
  • QUALITY, a value that demonstrates one’s originality, willingness to push boundaries, methodological soundness, and the advancement of knowledge both within one’s own discipline and among other disciplines and with the general public, as well;
  • EQUITY, or the willingness to undertake study with social justice, equitable access to research, and the public good in mind;
  • OPENNESS, which includes a researcher’s transparency, candor, and accountability, in addition to the practice of making one’s research OPEN ACCESS at all stages; and
  • COMMUNITY, the value of being engaged in one’s community of practice and with the public at large and also in practicing principled leadership.


With generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, over the coming 18 months the HuMetricsHSS team expects to accomplish the following goals on its way toward bettering evaluation in the academy:

  • Articulate values common to scholarly practice in the HSS disciplines to create a proposed “humane” evaluation framework;
  • Integrate previous work done in values, metrics, and evaluation in the HSS into the HuMetricsHSS values-based evaluation framework;
  • Create a small set of use cases for applying values-based evaluation practices (e.g., creating a syllabus, contributing to an annotation);
  • Solicit community feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders across HSS disciplines on the proposed values framework;
  • Organize a small pilot cohort of framework adopters (i.e., organizations that pledge to apply the framework in their own evaluation practices);
  • Iteratively improve the framework based upon cohort feedback and continued consultation with the community and external evaluation experts; and
  • Seek widespread adoption of the HuMetrics values-based framework by HSS funding agencies, departments, research institutes, and scholarly societies.

Team HuMetricsHSS

HuMetricsHSS is led by a core team of individuals with diverse backgrounds who share the common goal of cultivating excellence in HSS:

We are ably assisted by Penny Weber, Digital Culture Program Assistant at SSRC.

MSU HuMetricsHSS Steering Committee:

Ann Austin
Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Bill Hart-Davidson
Beronda Montgomery

Media Mentions and Citations


[listed in chronological order]:

Articles and Conference Presentations

  • Alperin, Juan Pablo, Carol Muñoz Nieves, Lesley A. Schimanski, Gustavo E. Fischman, Meredith T. Niles, and Erin C. McKiernan. “How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents?” eLife 8 (2019): e42254. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.42254
  • Altman, Micah, Chris Bourg, Philip Cohen, G. Sayeed Choudhury, Charles Henry, Sue Kriegsman, Mary Minow, Daisy Selematsela, Anasuya Sengupta, Peter Suber, Ece Turnator, Suzanne Wallen, Trevor Owens, and David Weinberger. “A grand challenges-based research agenda for scholarly communication and information science.” Grand Challenges Summit, March 2018, Cambridge, MA.
  • Duller, Matthias, Philipp Korom, Rafael Y. Schögler, and Christian Fleck. “Scholars as European public intellectuals? Media interventions in the 2014 European Parliament election campaign.” European Societies 20.2 (2018): 322-353. DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2017.1402119
  • Haak, Laurel L., Alice Meadows, and Josh Brown. “Using ORCID, DOI, and other open identifiers in research evaluation.” Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics 3 (2018): Article 28. doi: 10.3389/frma.2018.00028
  • Hatherill, Jeanette. “Questioning bibliometrics and research impact.” Bibliometrics and Research Impact Conference 2018.
  • Kear, Robin. “A brief view of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions World Library & Information Congress (IFLA WLIC 2017) in Wroclaw, Poland.” International Information & Library Review 49.4 (2017): 316–320, DOI: 10.1080/10572317.2017.1389562
  • Konkiel, Stacy. “Approaches to creating ‘humane’ research evaluation metrics for the humanities.” UKSG Insights, November 2018.
  • Lamberti , Adrienne P. “Navigating a tangled intersection: Agricultural communication as public meeting space among the humanities, social sciences, and the digital.” Open Library of Humanities 5.1 (2019): 11. DOI: 10.16995/olh.360
  • Long, Christopher P. “Reshaping the tenure and promotion process so that it becomes a catalyst for innovative and invigorating scholarship.” LSE Impact of Social Sciences, November 1, 2017.
  • Mudditt, Alison. “Opening the monograph: Lessons from Luminos.” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 49:1 (2017): 41–52. DOI: 10.3138/jsp.49.1.41
  • Staines, H. R. “Digital open annotation with Supplying the missing capability of the web.” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 49.3 (2018): 345-365.
  • Watkinson, Charles. “The academic eBook ecosystem reinvigorated: A perspective from the USA.” Learned Publishing 31.S1 (2018). 280–287. DOI: 10.1002/leap.1185
  • Watkinson, Charles. “Academy/ic-led publishing: Some thoughts from North America.” OASPA Webinar, Academic Publishing Day, February 7, 2019. Presentation link:
  • Doctoral Thesis
    Macedo, Denise Silva. Mercantilização do discurso público: Universidades brasileiras. 2018. 256 f., il. Tese (Doutorado em Linguística. Universidade de Brasí­lia, Brasí­lia, 2018.


Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019. 225–226.

Book Chapters

Glass, Erin, and Micah Vandegrift. “Public scholarship in practice and philosophy.” Preprint in Humanities Commons:

White Papers

  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen, and Rebecca Kennison. Altmetrics in Humanities and Social Sciences. 30
    October 2017. Web:
  • Maron, Nancy, and Rebecca Kennison. ACRL Research Agenda for Scholarly Communications and the Research Environment: Draft for Public Comment [final version due in March 2019]. 18 December 2018. Web:

Blog Posts

[listed in chronological order]: