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Kate Williams

Changing contests for capital: Alternative Metrics of Research Impact at The World Bank

Colloquium: CAS event | October 17 | 12:30-2 p.m. | 223 Moses Hall


Kate Williams, ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow, Sociology, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge

Center for African Studies


In their pursuit to produce relevant, useful research towards sustainable development, research organisations are invested in understanding how their work is used by diverse audiences. As such, they are eager to develop efficient ways to measure the wider impact of their research, in order to inform strategies around research focus, funding, communication and reporting. Alternative metrics of impact (‘altmetrics’) have grown rapidly as a way of measuring influence beyond academia. This paper will investigate the effects of these tools for the World Bank. Strongly invested in understanding how their research is utilised globally, multilateral agencies have begun to gather evidence from altmetric sources. Yet, the value of these tools in practice is unclear and often controversial. This paper will examine the emerging cultures of evaluation around alternative metrics in the context of global development policy and practice. Using a mixed-methods framework, the paper will offer insights into patterns of research attention using bibliometric and altmetric data, but will focus on investigating the complexity of meanings and practices surrounding research impact assessment in practice.

Kate is an Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders Fellow in the Department of Sociology and a Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College. Originally from Australia, Kate moved to Cambridge in 2012 to complete her PhD.


asc@berkeley.edu, 510-642-8338

Flyer for Kate Williams Talk