During the 2016 Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute (SCI), we sketched a preliminary set of core values for enriching scholarship, highlighting five: Equity, Openness, Collegiality, Quality, Community. Our short-term goal was to identify values broad enough to encompass a variety of scholarly practices that we might develop into a framework that could be used to improve the impact of scholarship by reimagining the rubrics we use to assess it. Long-term goals of this initiative were then — and remain now — to identify the practices that embody these scholarly values and to articulate the manner in which these values can be shown to advance scholarship in humanities and social science (HSS) disciplines.
This video captures some of our early ideas about this initiative:
At every workshop we've held and at every venue where we have presented our work, one thing has become clear: values-based conversations have transformative power. When individuals come together to identify shared values through structured conversations, those values come to anchor our work and begin to orient us toward our highest aspirations. Such self-reflective and intentional conversations enable us to begin to weave shared values into the fabric of our institutions. Again and again, our workshop participants have told us that the process of articulating, negotiating, and working through values with people that do not necessarily share them has been crucial to (a) creating a community of trust, (b) developing a sense of ownership of the process, and (c) cultivating a shared commitment to putting core values into practice when creating and curating knowledge.
A key aim thus far has been to facilitate the recognition of forms of knowledge creation beyond what can be captured by indicators focused solely on end-products like the article and the book. Scholarly activities such as those we examined in the syllabus and in annotations (and many more, such as mentoring, conference organizing, or the building of datasets or tools to make datasets useable) need to be evaluated as integral and valuable parts of scholarly life.
The first phase of HuMetricsHSS work (July 2017 – December 2018) directly engaged more than 80 participants at our workshops and countless others through conference appearances, individual conversations, and an episode of Michigan State’s the Liberal Arts Endeavor Podcast (Season 2, Episode 9). The infographic describing our values framework has been downloaded several thousand times from Humanities Commons. It is clear that our work responds to a deep and recognized need among a wide variety of stakeholders in the academy.
The second phase of work, currently underway (July 2019 – December 2020), looks to build on the work we've done to date to provide tools for others to use for self-reflection, to run their own workshops, to undertake campus- and community-wide conversations, and so on. This website was redesigned in July 2020 to emphasize these priorities.