Slaying "I" Monsters: The Pros and Cons of Using SSCI as a Benchmark of Productivity
Abstract: There are drums beating in higher education settings around the world for higher rankings and the prestige that comes with it. Every university is gunning for top rankings and respect. Many universities are fixating on publications as their route to worldwide acclaim. Specifically, they want publications that are prominently listed in SSCI (Social Science Citation Index), SCI (Science Citation Index), and A&HCI (Arts & Humanities Citation Index) journals. Governments and institutions of higher learning have backed this effort up with hefty pay raises and bonuses, distinguished titles, and monumental perks. Publishing in SSCI denotes status and success. For many, especially those in east Asia, it is the coin of the realm. Could it be that this three-headed "I" monster or beast has totally slayed the merit and value systems for scholars and researchers of these countries? Some universities in Taiwan, in fact, have even adopted an "I" point system for promotion and merit. And doctoral students there are not able to graduate without accumulating enough "I" points or publications. In this talk, Curt Bonk will describe 12 pros (e.g., goals, benchmarks, pride, and improved quality) and 27 cons (e.g., rats in a cage, greed, narrow focus, limited creativity, elitism, etc.) of the use of SSCI publications as a measure of researcher productivity. Those in attendance should gain the courage needed to slay any I" monsters hiding their bed or in their closet.