Scholarship | Kent State University

Scholarship

Definition of Scholarship

Scholarship includes the process of creating and disseminating new research-based knowledge within the field information sciences, and in extensions beyond the traditional boundaries of the field. It also involves rethinking current knowledge in order to present new understandings or interpretations of theoretical and practical information.

 

In accordance with definitions of scholarship adopted by the College of Communication and Information, the evaluation of the quality of any individual’s body of scholarly work is guided by the following points:

  1. Across the wide range of scholarship in SLIS, quality scholarship advances the frontiers of research, professional, and creative activity. Individual faculty members should consult their initial letters of appointment, the feedback received through the reappointment process, the School Handbook, the School Director, and senior faculty colleagues, to determine specific scholarly requirements for themselves.
  2. Quality scholarship has permanence. Successful scholars contribute lasting work - a published article, a book, a book chapter, full papers in refereed conference proceedings, etc.
  3. Quality Scholarship has a demonstrable impact on the discourse among peers in the discipline. Impact means peers in the field are taking note of one’s scholarship. Indicators of the value or contribution of scholarship include traditional measures such as the number of times the research output was cited by other scholars, the acceptance rate of a publication or conference, the impact factor of a publication, the use of the output by others for assigned readings or other teaching purposes, or for application in the field. It may also involve activities that stimulate discussion such as conference papers, and panel presentations, and keynote presentations. Candidates for reappointment, tenure, and promotion need to substantiate all measures of impact.
  4. Quality Scholarship is peer-reviewed. Peer review is the process by which a scholar’s research output is reviewed by other scholars with expertise in that research area, and may be double-blind, single-blind, or open, when both identities are disclosed. Peer review occurs in traditional refereed journals, but it also occurs with submissions to book publishers, professional publications, funding agencies, etc. Candidates for reappointment, tenure, and promotion need to clarify how peer review takes place and how competitive a given venue is.
  5. Quality Scholarship is rigorous. It builds demonstrably upon existing scholarship in systematic and reflective ways. It adheres to the standards associated with the methods employed.
  6. Quality Scholarship is programmatic. It evidences a clear research agenda that unfolds over the course of a career. A research agenda is a description of line of inquiry that includes: a statement of the problem area; the significance of the inquiry; the questions to be researched; the methods to be used; anticipated outputs resulting from the research; and a rough timeline to carry out the research. It need not be confined to a single narrow area, but it should coherently contribute to the building of a corpus of knowledge for which the scholar becomes known. See Appendix A “What is a Research Agenda.”
  7. Quality Scholarship is ethical. It respects human participants and conforms to the highest standards as put forth by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Further, it follows best practice with regard to proper attribution and respects intellectual property (see University policy 3-05 on misconduct in research and scholarship.)
  8. Quality Scholarship informs a faculty member’s teaching.

 

Evidence of Scholarship

Evidence of research-based activities include but are not restricted to:

  • Peer reviewed publications, both published and in-press, such as articles, monographs, chapters, or papers in conference proceedings;
  • Solicited and invited articles, such as journal articles and encyclopedia articles;
  • Invited participation in programs, presentations (including posters), keynote addresses, or invited publication of scholarly papers at professional and scholarly meetings at international, national, state and local levels;
  • Submitted research proposals for external funding (e.g., grants) opportunities;
  • Secured professionally reviewed research grants, especially external awards;
  • Development and curation of juried exhibitions;
  • Innovative fora for scholarly contributions, such as blogs, wikis, or other participatory media that impact the discipline;
  • Research partnerships with other academic units and information institutions;
  • Evidence of outstanding achievement, such as awards and honors;
  • Patents;
  • Development of software, electronic tools and other resources as a result of research-based projects; and
  • Significant editorial work and serving in an editorial capacity as a recognized high-standing scholar.

 

Assessment of Evidence

The principles for the evaluation and reward of scholarship relate to the individual within the context of the department, school, college, and university governance structure. An individual faculty member's scholarly work is considered first within the context of the School’s mission, and subsequently within the context of the college and university mission.

 

In the SLIS disciplines, researchers employ methodologies from diverse academic disciplines. SLIS does not assume any value hierarchy among research methods. The School considers the quality of the research and resulting products and outputs on the attributes defined above. It is the candidate’s responsibility to provide evidence of quality and impact based on these attributes and taken into consideration the following SLIS values:

 

  • Publications of original research in peer-reviewed journals are central to one’s scholarship legacy,
  • Journal articles and other peer-reviewed publications are evaluated based on the scope and reputation of the publication, and on the review process by which submissions are accepted.
  • For books and book chapters, the reputation and selectivity of the publisher, and the degree to which the chapter is subjected to peer-review, are considered.
  • In judging the value and importance of conference presentations as scholarly works, the following are taken into consideration:
    • the prestige of the meeting,
    • the selectivity of the conference,
    • the scope of the meeting (e.g., local, national, international), and
    • the characteristics of the audience.
  • Single and lead authorship are encouraged. The School also values co-authorship, however, the role and the degree of contribution by each co-author must be communicated by the faculty and this will be taken into consideration.

 

In evaluating research performance, the overall sustainability and impact of the research record is assessed at each stage of career development.

  • A sustained record of research is a steady annual flow of scholarly output that reflects continued programmatic development of rigorous scholarship.
  • Effective scholarship requires development and extension of a coherent research agenda, productivity in the form of peer-reviewed scholarly communication, and resulting influence and impact of value to SLIS, the College, the University, and the field.

 

Three tables are provided to describe key milestones during the faculty member’s probationary and tenured period at Kent State University, as they relate to the areas of scholarship (Table 1), teaching (Table 2), and service (Table 3).  

 

These milestones occur at the end of the:

  • 1st year (submitted at the beginning of the 2nd year) for reappointment;
  • 3rd year (submitted at the beginning of the 4th year) for reappointment;
  • 5th year (submitted at the beginning of the 6th year) for tenure and promotion to associate professor; and
  • 5th year after the promotion to associate professor, submitted for promotion to full professor.

 

Table 1, below, provides guidelines for the assessment of scholarship for reappointment, tenure, and promotion during the faculty member’s probationary and tenured period at Kent State University, as evidenced in the candidate’s curriculum vitae and narrative statement and addressing the expectations set in the initial letter of offer.

 

 

Table 1: Expectations for Progress and Excellence in Scholarship

 

At the completion of Year 1, for 2nd Year reappointment:

Does NOT meet Expectations

MEETS Expectations

EXCEEDS Expectations

Failed to articulate a sustainable research agenda for years 1-3 or has not made any demonstrable progress, i.e. no submitted, accepted or published scholarly outputs

Has articulated a sustainable research agenda for years 1-3; has made some progress toward demonstrating the impact of the research (e.g., submission acceptance or publication of peer reviewed scholarly works).

Meets expectations and in addition has evidence of acceptance of multiple works through peer review process. Demonstrates evidence of permanence and impact.

At the completion of Year 3, for 4th Year reappointment:

Does NOT meet Expectations

MEETS Expectations

EXCEEDS Expectations

Has not demonstrated sustained evidence of peer reviewed products and outputs of peer-reviewed scholarly communication. Little or no evidence of impact. Expectations set forth in the proposal and agreement in the Start-up funds, if applicable, are not being met.

Demonstrated sustained progress, nearing completion of or completed research goals for years 1-3, resulting in multiple products and outputs of peer-reviewed scholarly communication. Extended the research agenda with new research questions. Has submitted grant proposal. Demonstrates some evidence of impact. Expectations set forth in the proposal and agreement in the Start-up funds, if applicable, are being met.

Meets expectations and in addition provides evidence such as authorship of multiple publications, submission of grant proposals, or securing external funding. Demonstrates strong evidence of impact.
Demonstrates that candidate has built upon start-up fund and exceeded expectations set in the agreement, if applicable.

At the completion of Year 5, for Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor:

Does NOT meet Expectations

MEETS Expectations

EXCEEDS Expectations

No extension of initial research agenda; failed to demonstrate a sustained record of products and outputs of peer-reviewed scholarly communication. No strong evidence of impact

Sustained record of products and outputs of peer-reviewed scholarly communication; Continued and extended initial research agenda resulting in products and outputs of peer-reviewed scholarly communication demonstrating progress and promise for continuing scholarly activities, influence, and impact beyond probationary period. Established reputation of promise (external letters)

Meets expectations and in addition demonstrates strong evidence of impact, such as influence in the field such as plenary keynote at national or international events; invited publications in special editions of journals; awards; or secured  grants. Demonstrated substantial work on extending research agenda.
 

For Promotion to Professor:

Does NOT meet Expectations

MEETS Expectations

EXCEEDS Expectations

No progression or extension of research agenda following promotion to Associate; failed to demonstrate a continued record of products and outputs of peer-reviewed scholarly communication; little or no strong evidence of impact.

Extended research agenda following promotion to Associate, resulting in products and outputs of peer-reviewed scholarly communication demonstrating influence and impact in the field, nationally and internationally. Established reputation (external letters); recipient of awards and grants.

Meets expectations and in addition demonstrates strong evidence of influence in the field, such as plenary keynote at national or international events; continuous track record of awards; or secured grants.