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Gaming the Metrics | Misconduct and Manipulation in Academic Research

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Gaming the Metrics. Misconduct and Manipulation in Academic Research. Edited by Mario Biagioli and Alexandra Lippman. 2020. MIT Press


*** This title is freely available as an OPEN ACCESS edition thanks to the TOME initiative
and the support of the University of California, Davis. 


The traditional academic imperative to “publish or perish” is increasingly coupled with the newer necessity of “impact or perish”—the requirement that a publication have “impact,” as measured by a variety of metrics, including citations, views, and downloads. Gaming the Metrics examines how the increasing reliance on metrics to evaluate scholarly publications has produced radically new forms of academic fraud and misconduct.

The contributors show that the metrics-based “audit culture” has changed the ecology of research, fostering the gaming and manipulation of quantitative indicators, which lead to the invention of such novel forms of misconduct as citation rings and variously rigged peer reviews.

The chapters, written by both scholars and those in the trenches of academic publication, provide a map of academic fraud and misconduct today. They consider such topics as the shortcomings of metrics, the gaming of impact factors, the emergence of so-called predatory journals, the “salami slicing” of scientific findings, the rigging of global university rankings, and the creation of new watchdogs and forensic practices.


  • Introduction: Metrics and the New Ecologies of Academic Misconduct | Mario Biagioli and Alexandra Lippman

I. Beyond and Before Metrics

  • 1. Gaming Metrics Before the Game: Citation and the Bureaucratic Virtuoso | Alex Csiszar
  • 2. The Transformation of the Scientific Paper: From Knowledge to Accounting Unit | Yves Gingras
  • 3. Playing and Being Played by the Research Impact Game | Michael Power
  • 4. The Mismeasurement of Quality and Impact | Paul Wouters
  • 5. Taking Goodhart’s Law Meta: Gaming, Meta-Gaming, and Hacking Academic Performance Metrics | James Griesemer

II. Collaborative Manipulations

  • 6. Global University Rankings: Impacts and Applications | Barbara M. Kehm
  • 7. Predatory Publishing and the Imperative of International Productivity: Feeding Off and Feeding Up the Dominant | Sarah de Rijcke and Tereza Stöckelová
  • 8. Pressures to Publish: What Effects Do We See? | Daniele Fanelli
  • 9. Ghost-Managing and Gaming Pharmaceutical Knowledge | Sergio Sismondo

III. Interventions: Notes from the Field

  • 10. Retraction Watch: What We’ve Learned and How Metrics Play a Role | Ivan Oransky
  • 11. PubPeer: Scientific Assessment Without Metrics | Boris Barbour and Brandon M. Stell
  • 12. The Voinnet Affair: Testing the Norms of Scientific Image Management | Catherine Guaspare and Emmanuel Didier
  • 13. Crossing the Line: Pseudonyms and Snark in Post-Publication Peer Review | Paul S. Brookes
  • 14. Ike Antkare, His Publications, and Those of His Disciples | Ike Antkare
  • 15. Fake Scientists on Editorial Boards Can Significantly Enhance the Visibility of Junk Journals | Burkhard Morgenstern
  • 16. Altmetrics Gaming: Beast Within or Without? | Jennifer Lin
  • 17. Why We Could Stop Worrying About Gaming Metrics If We Stopped Using Journal Articles for Publishing Scientific Research | Elizabeth Wager

IV. Mimicry for Parody or Profit 

  • 18. Making People and Influencing Friends: Citation Networks and the Appearance of Significance | Finn Brunton
  • 19. Crack Open the Make Believe: Counterfeit, Publication Ethics, and the Global South | Marie-Andrée Jacob
  • 20. Fake Archives: The Search for Openness in Scholarly Communication Platforms | Alessandro Delfanti
  • 21. Humor, Hoaxes, and Software in the Search for Academic Misconduct | Alexandra Lippman


*** This title is freely available as an OPEN ACCESS edition thanks to the TOME initiative
and the support of the University of California, Davis. 


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