- Definitions and principles
Faculty and administrators at Indiana University use a variety of information sources to inform their judgement in evaluation and strategic planning. The introduction of several new sources of data and platforms for aggregating and reporting these data calls for increased attention to how these systems are implemented within the institution. This policy continues Indiana University Bloomington’s longstanding tradition of excellence and transparency in scholarship by ensuring that faculty activity systems align with the values of Indiana University Bloomington and meet international standards for research evaluation.
Faculty scholarly activity systems are any systems that monitor and aggregate information on activities related to performance in research and creative activity. These include faculty profile systems (such as those used for faculty annual review) in which individual faculty control the input of data, as well as external systems which provide aggregated external data. Included within the scope of this policy are all systems that provide non-anonymized data at the individual level, regardless of whether they are intended for individual evaluation or the evaluation of programs and departments. Not included in this policy are student course evaluations and other software that gather data on faculty members not directly related to research and creative activity.
The principles listed below are informed by the Leiden Manifesto, an international generated statement of principles guiding research evaluation1.
- Disciplinary difference. Scholarship is increasingly heterogeneous. Faculty activity systems must take disciplinary differences into account in both the inputs and outputs of the system, using field normalized indicators where possible and providing explicit acknowledgement of disciplinary biases in the system.
- Complementary methods. Indicators are inherently reductionist and should be used to supplement, rather than replace, other forms of review (such as peer review) that more fully contextualize the varied nature of academic performance.
- Aligning values and incentives. Faculty activity systems do not only monitor, but also incentivize, the type of output that is measured. The source of data for faculty activity systems should therefore be made transparent. Uses of systems which incentivize practices that do not align with the values of the institution should not be implemented.
- Accuracy. Faculty activity systems must contain accurate data and provide transparent reporting on coverage. In order to ensure the data provided are accurate, data from the system should be made available for validation upon request.
- Transparency. Systems cannot be used for individual faculty evaluation unless the data is accessible to the faculty members. Faculty activity systems must provide mechanisms that provide faculty members with the opportunity to request and receive their records and opportunity for redress if errors are identified.
- Selection. Faculty activity systems purchased or used at Indiana University Bloomington must meet the principles outlined in Section 1b to the degree possible. To safeguard these principles, faculty members must be substantively involved in decisions about choosing and adopting faculty performance evaluation systems and should be included on any committee constituted by the office/unit purchasing the system. The Research Affairs Committee of the Bloomington Faculty Council (BFC) is tasked with appointing at least one member to serve on this committee.
- Use. If a system currently employed on campus does not meet these principles, it should be brought to the attention of the Research Affairs Committee of the BFC, who will examine the system (either as a whole or within a subcommittee) and determine the degree to which the system fails to adhere to the principles. If failures are identified, this group will negotiate with those implementing the system to determine if changes can be made to bring the system into alignment with the principles.
- Recommendation. If a negotiation cannot be resolved within the committee, the issue should be brought to the attention of the Executive Committee of the BFC. The Executive Committee will evaluate the issue and, if necessary, bring it to full Council for a vote on whether to discontinue the faculty activity system. This recommendation will be forwarded to those implementing the system.
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