How many papers have you published? What was the impact factor of the journals? How many times were they viewed and cited on ResearchGate? These are just some of the metrics that can define the success (or lack of success) of a research career, according to Gerry Czerniawski, a professor of education at the University of East London.

Gamification

Professor Czerniawski calls this the process of ‘gamification’ in research. Years of effort and research reduced down to a few numbers on which you are judged.

“One of the game’s ‘scorecards’ is ResearchGate. Ostensibly this online platform is a way of sharing papers and making contacts. But it also reduces you to numbers of citations or reads, and then uses these to show the world how you and your work are performing. I am by turns horrified and beguiled by it.”

How to play the game

Because these metrics affect your career, you can’t afford to ignore them. Professor Czerniawski has some useful career advice for those who want to play the game and win:

  • Get two academic mentors, one from inside and one from outside your organisation
  • Seek career support from your institute’s HR or research services departments
  • Get published more – for example through conference papers and co-authoring with your mentors
  • Raise your profile by keeping your lab web page up to date, writing blogs, or acting as a reviewer

For more career advice read Professor Czerniawski’s original article.