ResViz: politics and design issues in visualising academic metrics

Chris Elsden, Sebastian Mellor, Patrick Olivier, Pete Wheldon, Dave Kirk, Rob Comber

The use of data and metrics on a professional and personal level has led to considerable discourse around the performative power and politics of ‘big data’ and data visualisation, with academia being no exception. We have developed a university system, ResViz, which publicly visualises the externally funded research projects of academics, and their internal collaborations. We present an interview study that engages 20 key stakeholders, academics and administrators who are part of the pilot release for the first version of this system. In doing so, we describe and problematise our design space, considering the implications of making metrics visible and their social use within a large organisation. Our findings cut across the way people communicate, review and manage performance with metrics. We raise seven design issues in this space — practical considerations that expose the tensions in making metrics available for public contestation.

Author: Mark Sleightholm

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