Winner, Best Paper Ever

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Glenn Hampson

Feb 18, 2022, 12:35:26 PMFeb 18
to Rebecca Kennison, The Open Scholarship Initiative, Hu Metrics

Hi Rebecca,


It’s so good to hear from you, and thank you so much for sharing your work here. And congratulations!


At the risk of sounding too gushy or hyperbolic, I think this is one of the best (if not THE best) papers I’ve ever read on any topic in this space. For all OSIers (and beyond) interested in how we might go about reforming the culture of communication in academia (particularly in HSS)---a central theme this group has recognized---this HuMetrics report should be required reading. Please do carve out an hour to give it a read (it’s only 40 pages long---with an additional 180+ pages of references and appendices).


I won’t attempt to re-summarize the report here---the report’s abstract already does a good job of this---but I will attach a few of the more salient (and, BTW, beautifully written) passages that really caught my eye:


“The responsibility for making change in systems of RPT and evaluation more generally seems at once to belong to everyone and no one. Departments bow to disciplinary convention or the bylaws laid out by deans and provosts; deans and provosts swear that the departments themselves set the standards by which they are evaluated. A refusal of agency for fear of failure — and of consequences for the attempt (such as plummeting university rankings, loss of grant money, and so on) — results in a foundering machine aware of its defects but unwilling and unable to fix them, with the weight of these defects coming down hardest on the most vulnerable members of the academy.” (p. 2)


“Whether it is because of willful ignorance about how tenure and promotion processes are determined, unacknowledged investment in the idea that merit equates to success in a hierarchical system, a feeling of being overcome by the enormity of a decades-long problem, or a trepidation to poke an already irascible bear, it seems that no one feels that they have sufficient agency, authority, or energy to change the system, although there is broad recognition that the system is broken. There is a tendency for administrative leaders at one level of the promotion and tenure process to point to leaders leveraging power at a different level of the hierarchy as the source of the resistance to change.”(p. 11)


“There is little incentive for administrative leaders or pre-tenure faculty to advocate for substantive changes to the promotion-and-tenure process given the time horizon such changes would require. Developing long-term, strategic interventions in the tenure and promotion process under these circumstances is very difficult as administrative leaders have little incentive to make meaningful change while pre-tenure faculty yearn for clear expectations and stability.” (p. 21)


“The prestige economy relies on rankings, metrics, and practices that punish those institutions who might move first to change the manner in which scholarship is evaluated and rewarded.” (p. 22)


“If there is a three-legged stool for the tenure and promotion process, the legs are not equal in length or strength. Research, as understood and measured in narrow ways, is the most important of the legs, while teaching is an uneven second, and service a very weak third. This makes for a very unbalanced and precarious stool indeed!” (p. 23)


“In the interviews we held over the past 18 months, we experienced the stress, strain, and anxiety of the liminal space we currently inhabit. We heard the exhaustion, the frustration, the exasperation, and the alienation. But we also heard the hope, the creativity, the deep and enduring love of learning, and the abiding commitment to creating a more just and equitable ecosystem of scholarly engagement. Higher education stands at a crossroads. The policies and practices that shape scholarly life are not aligned with the core values for which higher education institutions profess to stand or with the personal values many in higher education hope to enact through their work. The alienation, frustration, exasperation, and exhaustion our colleagues voiced throughout the interviews may have been amplified by the pandemic and the reckoning with racism, but they can ultimately be traced to the misalignment between the values we profess to hold and the practices that shape contemporary academic life. Without direct action to redress this misalignment, we will remain unable to tap into the hope, creativity, and joy that are the catalysts of genuine transformation. Through our conversations we identified opportunities for intervention in quotidian interactions, small policy changes, slight shifts of emphasis, and innovative structural adjustments. We learned that substantive institutional transformation is, in fact, possible — and that each of us involved in the higher education endeavor, however exhausted we may feel, can be an agent of the change we envision if we remain committed to putting our values into intentional practice in every encounter we have, in every decision we make, in every policy we create, and in every practice we undertake. There is enormous creative potential for transformative change in higher education in the recommendations we have outlined here. Many, as you will note, do not require tectonic shifts in institutional structures but rather adjustments in how we put the values we say we care most deeply about into concrete action in the habits, practices, and policies that shape the way scholarship is pursued. Each intervention moves us closer to living up to the values so many of us sought to embody in our decision to dedicate our lives to higher education; together, over time, the changes we suggest will have a broader transformative effect. Only when higher education lives up to the values for which it has long advocated will the university be in a position to address the grand challenges of our time with new creative energy, integrity, and grace.” (p. 40)


Going forward, as this group (or more accurately, OSIers who elect to engage in this process) attempts to draft open scholarship policies that work for researchers first and foremost, I expect your work will be hugely informative and provide a substantial bedrock for what these broad, flexible, inclusive, and sustainable policies might look like.


Thank you again for sharing!


With best regards,





Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)




From: <> On Behalf Of Rebecca Kennison
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2022 1:01 PM
To: The Open Scholarship Initiative <>
Cc: Hu Metrics <>
Subject: HuMetricsHSS white paper


I and the other members of the HuMetricsHSS team are thrilled to announce the release of our new white paper “Walking the Talk: Toward a Values-Aligned Academy.” I think many of you will find the challenges and the recommendations of this white paper resonate with much of the work OSI has been doing over the years.

Abstract: Walking the Talk: Toward a Values-Aligned Academy is the culmination of 18 months of research interviews across the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA). Conducted by the HuMetricsHSS Initiative as an extension of their previous work on values-enacted scholarly practice, the interviews focused on current systems of evaluation within BTAA institutions, the potential problems and inequalities of those processes, the kinds of scholarly work that could be better recognized and rewarded, and the contexts and pressures evaluators are under, including, as the process progressed, the onset and ongoing conditions of COVID-19. The interviews focused primarily on the reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) process. Interviewees outlined a number of issues to be addressed, including toxicity in evaluation, scholars’ increased alienation from the work they are passionate about, and a high-level virtue-signaling of values by institutions without the infrastructure or resources to support the enactment of those values. Based on these conversations, this white paper offers a set of recommendations for making wide-scale change to address systematic injustice, erasure, and devaluation of academic labor in order to strengthen the positive public impact of scholarship.

Online version:

PDF version:

We invite you to share your thoughts with us through our Twitter account or by email at And of course here on this listserv too!

All the best,
Rebecca (on behalf of HuMetricsHSS)



Rebecca Kennison
Principal and Executive Director, K|N Consultants
510 541 3119 mobile
ORCID: 0000-0002-1401-9808
Web: and
Twitter: @KNConsultants and @OA_Network

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Lorcan Dempsey

Feb 18, 2022, 3:31:19 PMFeb 18
to Glenn Hampson, Rebecca Kennison, The Open Scholarship Initiative, Hu Metrics
I thought the first endnote on the report was interesting .... sorting the list of authors ...  

Beginning with this publication, we have opted for a collective authorship model. To identify all authors contributing under the collective model in each of our publications, our aim is to select a different way of listing co-authorship. In this case we have chosen ORCID IDs listed in ascending order: Nicky Agate [0000-0001-7624-3779], Christopher P. Long [0000-0001-9932-5689], Bonnie Russell [0000-0002-0374-0384], Rebecca Kennison [0000-0002-1401-9808], Penelope Weber [0000-0002-4542-8989], Simone Sacchi [0000-0002-6635-7059], Jason Rhody [0000-0002-7096-1881], Bonnie Thornton Dill [0000-0002-7450-2412].

From: <> on behalf of Glenn Hampson <>
Sent: Friday, February 18, 2022 12:35 PM
To: 'Rebecca Kennison' <>; 'The Open Scholarship Initiative' <>
Cc: 'Hu Metrics' <>
Subject: Winner, Best Paper Ever

David Wojick

Feb 18, 2022, 6:51:36 PMFeb 18
to Glenn Hampson, Rebecca Kennison, The Open Scholarship Initiative, Hu Metrics
I hope that OA does not have to wait for "reforming the culture of communication in academia" as that could be a long wait indeed.

Sometimes it sounds like people are taking fundamental social reform like ordering coffee at Starbucks. True reforms tend to be extremely unpleasant, for good reason. Finding the new way is hard work, often damaging along the way


Glenn Hampson

Feb 18, 2022, 7:52:41 PMFeb 18
to David Wojick, Rebecca Kennison, The Open Scholarship Initiative, Hu Metrics

Indeed. Hopefully not. But several of the fundamental drivers here (for example, the publishing incentives and choices researchers face) are rooted in the prestige and reward structures Rebecca and her colleagues highlight in their paper. So, some amount of movement will be needed. We (UNESCO, cOAlition S, UCal, etc.) can create new publishing solutions, but these won’t take root if they don’t align with what researchers want and need. That’s why---to shamelessly plug how this all fits in with OSI’s 2022 to-do list---it’s important to build from the ground up with these solutions instead of continuing to assume that our grande mocha APC with zero embargo and extra data is what researchers ordered. As we’re seeing in spades now with how APCs are closing off publishing from the Global South (at least in the case of Elsevier’s mirror journals---more evidence here would be helpful before getting too panicked), the wrong solutions can harm the very thing we’re all trying to help.


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Rebecca Kennison

Feb 20, 2022, 1:27:39 PMFeb 20
to Glenn Hampson, The Open Scholarship Initiative, Hu Metrics
Thanks so much, Glenn, for the thorough read, high praise, and recommendation! We are hopeful that the paper will contribute in helpful ways to the conversations so many of us are having in this space. It sounds like perhaps it already has!

All the best,
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