Educational leadership researchers, (social) scientific credibility, and the Kardashian index

Year: 2018

Author: Eacott, Scott

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

At a time when universities are encouraging academics to increase engagement and impact while also increasing the publication of papers in high quality outlets, social media has become a valuable tool to achieve greater outreach and dissemination of work to a broad audience. However, popularity, or even the celebrity status that can be attained through social media does not always correlate with more traditional / standard measures of academic value such as citation metrics. The central thesis of this paper is that it is possible to generate empirical evidence that can inform ongoing dialogue and debate regarding the scholarly credibility of researchers. Drawing on the ‘Kardashian index’ (K-index), a measure of discrepancy between a scientist’s social media profile and publication record, this paper argues many of the researchers invited to give keynote addresses at educational leadership conferences have much larger social profiles than might be expected given their scholarly track record.