Yesterday, I attended the CHI conference (an ACM conference for those studying and working in the area of human-computer interaction). I had the privilege of speaking on a panel discussing the paper entitled “Scientometric Analysis of the CHI Proceedings” by Christoph Bartneck and Jun Hu. The other panelists were Gilbert Cockton, Robert Kraut, and Louise Barkhuus. Because of the nature of this panel, I prepared seven minutes of commentary ahead of time. Although my notes from this are really rough, I decided that I should share them because others might find them to be helpful:
My main argument is that we should think about what kinds of impact we as academics intend to make with our work. Different scholars take different approaches, but we’re increasingly obsessed with how we can measure scholars’ “impact” and the focus on measurement distorts the actual impact being made. So, as we think about citation count, best paper awards, and the politics of our field, are we really talking about the way that we can have impact or the way that we can get tenure?