ResViz: politics and design issues in visualizing academic metrics

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


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 visualization, with academia being no exception. We have developed a university system, ResViz, which publicly visualizes 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 problematize our design space, considering the implications of making metrics visible and their social use within a large organization. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 - San Jose, CA, USA May 7 - 12
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings - The 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsCliff Lampe
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2016 - San Jose, United States of America
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016
Conference number: 34th (Website) (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2016
Abbreviated titleCHI 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySan Jose
Internet address


  • Critical data studies
  • Metrics
  • Visualization

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