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Say No To Academic Analytics

Academic Analytics is incomplete, inaccurate, and secret from the faculty whose job positions may be evaluated by it.  The Rutgers faculty union has been working for over a year to understand the program and tackle it's inefficiencies. The university administration still maintains that it will not release data generated by Academic Analytics, even after several faculty members utilized their states right to place an Open Public Records Request for information on their own work. Even with information lacking, faculty leaders have gleaned that Academic Analytics is a failure of a program.  

And we are not alone. In fact, Georgetown University Provost Robert Groves undertook a study of Academic Analytics at his school and discovered the software was not only ill-conceived, but riddled with errors. As a result, they are no longer using Academic Analytics.

The study concluded:

“In short, the quality of AA coverage of the scholarly products of those faculty studied are far from perfect. Even with perfect coverage, the data have differential value across fields that vary in book versus article production and in their cultural supports for citations of others’ work. With inadequate coverage, it seems best for us to seek other ways of comparing Georgetown to other universities. For that reason, we will be dropping our subscription to Academic Analytics.”

The hope is to see the same here at Rutgers University. Read below and sign on to support legal action to be taken in order to properly evaluate and discredit Academic Analytics

Undersigned are faculty members employed by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey;

In 2013, Rutgers signed a four-year contract for approximately one-half million dollars with Academic Analytics Inc. to develop a numerical Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index (FSPI) for tenure-track faculty on the New Brunswick campus;

To develop a FSPI for each tenure-track faculty member, Academic Analytics uses various metrics, including: (1) books; (2) journal articles; (3) conference proceedings; (4) citations to journal articles; (5) citations to conference proceedings; (6) federal research grants; and (7) professional honors and awards.

Academic Analytics does not include in its FSPI calculations critical information about the scholarly accomplishments of faculty members, including, but not limited to, grant funding from states or the private sector, book chapters, private sector collaborations, art curatorships, ethnographic films, patents, and community engaged scholarship.

Academic Analytics uses the FSPI for each individual faculty member to calculate an overall productivity index for every Ph.D. program on the New Brunswick campus;

Academic Analytics maintains a database of information that it uses to calculate the FSPI for each tenure-track faculty member;

As an undersigned member of the faculty, I am concerned that the data Academic Analytics is using to calculate my FSPI may not be accurate or complete;

I am also concerned that data from Academic Analytics may be used by the University to make decisions about reappointment, tenure, promotion, merit raises and out-of-cycle salary awards;

I am further concerned that Rutgers is utilizing FSPI ratings and other data from Academic Analytics in allocating resources to departments, programs, units and schools;

In fact, Chancellor Richard Edwards recently acknowledged that in making resource allocation decisions among various units, Deans use data from Academic Analytics;

On March 25, 2016, the New Brunswick Faculty Council issued a Report and Resolution on the Use of Academic Analytics;

The Faculty Council’s Report and Resolution expressed many of the concerns set forth in this petition and called on the University to “disclose as openly and transparently as possible complete information about Academic Analytics and its metrics to the RU-NB faculty” and to “enable individual faculty members to easily access their own AA data;”

I am aware that in response to requests submitted by individual faculty members under the Open Public Records Act for data used to calculate their FSPI, the University denied such requests, claiming that the University does not “maintain data records from Academic Analytics, Inc., on any individual professors;”

Currently, the University President, the Chancellor of Rutgers University – New Brunswick, department chairs, deans, associate deans and program directors have access to the Academic Analytics database and have accessed that database;

Further, the University has a proprietary interest in the database maintained by Academic Analytics on members of its faculty;

My FSPI and the scores that Academic Analytics used to calculate my index is a record to which I have a right of access under the common law and OPRA;

I am therefore exercising my right under the common law and OPRA to request that the University provide me with access to records containing my FSPI and the data, ratings, or scores in the Academic Analytics data base to which the University has access and which were used to calculate my index;

If for any reason, in order for me to exercise my right to information under OPRA, the University requires me to provide additional information or to complete the University’s OPRA form, please contact me using my University email address;

Further, should the University deny this request by me, I authorize the AAUP-AFT law firm of Weissman & Mintz LLC to initiate an action in the Superior Court, Law Division on my behalf to obtain records that reflect my FSPI and the data relied on by Academic Analytics in calculating my FSPI.






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