Statement on the Scholarly Merit and Evaluation of Open Scholarship in Linguistics | Linguistic Society of America

“Open Scholarship can be a key component for a scholar’s portfolio in a number of situations, including but not limited to hiring, review, promotion, and awards. Because Open Scholarship can take many forms, evaluation of this work may need different tools and approaches from publications like journal articles and books.  In particular, citation counts, a common tool for evaluating publications, are not available for some kinds of Open Scholarship in the same form or from the same providers as they are from publications. Here we share recommendations on how to assess the use of Open Scholarship materials including and beyond citations, including materials that both have formal peer review and those that do not not.

For tenure & promotion committees, program managers, department chairs, hiring committees, and others tasked with evaluating Open Scholarship, NASEM has prepared a discipline-agnostic rubric that can be used as part of hiring, review, or promotion processes. Outside letters of evaluation can also provide insight into the significance and impact of Open Scholarship work. Psychologist Brian Nosek (2017) provides some insight into how a letter writer can evaluate Open Scholarship, and includes several ways that evaluation committees can ask for input specifically about contributions to Open Scholarship. Nosek suggests that letter writers and evaluators comment on ways that individuals have contributed to Open Scholarship through “infrastructure, service, metascience, social media leadership, and their own research practices.” We add that using Open Scholarship in the classroom, whether through open educational materials, open pedagogy, or teaching of Open Scholarship principles, should be included in this list. Evaluators can explicitly ask for these insights in requests to letter writers, for example by including the request to “Please describe the impact that [scholar name]’s openly available research outputs have had from the research, public policy, pedagogic, and/or societal perspectives.” These evaluations can be particularly important when research outputs are not formally peer reviewed.

For scholars preparing hiring, review, promotion, or other portfolios that include Open Scholarship, we recommend not only discussing the Open Scholarship itself, but also its documented and potential impacts on both the academic community as well as broader society. Many repositories housing Open Scholarship materials provide additional metrics such as views, downloads, comments, and forks (or reuse cases) alongside citations in published literature. The use and mention of material with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) can be tracked using tools such as ImpactStory, Altmetric.com, and other alternative metrics. To aid with evaluation of this work, the creator should share these metrics where available, along with any other qualitative indicators (such as personal thank-yous, reuse stories, or online write-ups) that can give evaluators a sense of the impact of their work. The Metrics Toolkit provides examples and use cases for these kinds of metrics. This is of potential value when peer review of these materials may not take the same form as with published journals or books; thoughtful use and interpretation of metrics can help evaluators understand the impact and importance of the work.

The Linguistic Society of America reaffirms its commitment to fair review of Open Scholarship in hiring, tenure, and promotion, endorses all of these approaches to peer review and evaluation of Open Scholarship, and encourages scholars, departments, and personnel committees to take them into careful consideration and implement language about Open Scholarship in their evaluation processes.”