The Quantified Scholar

How Research Evaluations Transformed the British Social Sciences

Columbia University Press, 2022

Since 1986, the British government, faced with dwindling budgets and growing calls for public accountability, has sought to assess the value of scholarly work in the nation’s universities. Administrators have periodically evaluated the research of most full-time academics employed in British universities, seeking to distribute increasingly scarce funding to those who use it best. How do such attempts to quantify the worth of knowledge change the nature of scholarship?

Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra examines the effects of quantitative research evaluations on British social scientists, arguing that the mission to measure academic excellence resulted in less diversity and more disciplinary conformity. Combining interviews and original computational analyses, The Quantified Scholar provides a compelling account of how scores, metrics, and standardized research evaluations altered the incentives of scientists and administrators by rewarding forms of scholarship that were closer to established disciplinary canons. In doing so, research evaluations amplified publication hierarchies and longstanding forms of academic prestige to the detriment of diversity. Slowly but surely, they reshaped academic departments, the interests of scholars, the organization of disciplines, and the employment conditions of
researchers.

Critiquing the effects of quantification on the workplace, this book also presents alternatives to existing forms of evaluation, calling for new forms of vocational solidarity that can challenge entrenched inequality in academia.

A sample chapter is available here

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Automating Finance

Infrastructures, Engineers, and the Making of Electronic Markets

Cambridge University Press, 2019

Trading floors are a thing of the past. Thanks to a combination of
computers, high-speed networks and algorithms, millions of financial transactions now happen in fractions of a second. This book studies the automation of stock markets in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, identifying the invisible actors, devices, and politics that were central to the creation of electronic trading. In addition to offering a detailed account of how stock exchanges wrestled with technology, the book also invites readers to rethink the nature of markets in modern societies. Markets, it argues, are sites for the creation of relations, and in studying how these relations changed through technology, the book highlights the sources, dynamics, and consequences of automation. In this respect, the book is both a history of automation in finance and a sociological analysis of the way in which automation gradually changed the lives and work of key financial actors.