Taking the measure of metrics: Interviews with four ASIS&T members



Editor's Summary

A series of interviews with four ASIS&T members, all outstanding scholars in metric-related research, provides insights into their interests, motivations and views on research in the area. Christine L. Borgman recalls being intrigued as a student when hearing about the history of bibliometrics, and she sees expanding metrics research methods as one of the most significant recent advances in the field. Blaise Cronin speaks of reading, meeting and corresponding with leaders in the field from early in his own career. He is impressed by the rise of journals other than JASIST covering informetrics, reflecting expanding interest in the field. Katherine W. McCain was drawn to the field when she was recognized for a citation analysis and collection assessment carried out while she served as a biology librarian. Among the challenges McCain identifies are more meaningful analysis of huge datasets, research funding and gaining understanding through the different perspectives of boundary spanners. Howard White recalls how a friendly conversation led to special access to a proprietary data gathering tool, resulting in the first author co-citation map and his co-authoring a highly acclaimed article. He notes significant advances in the mathematical foundations of bibliometrics and a rise in importance of bibliometrics for assessing national research programs. All four researchers are pleased to see the rise of altmetrics and data visualization capabilities, though they share concerns about the validity and reliability of metrics-based research and trustworthiness of platforms and data sets.