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Law, Metrics, and the Scholarly Economy

As markets began to usurp other forms of social regulation throughout the 20th century, metrics became increasingly central to the coordination of new spheres of market-mediated relations. More recently, digital metrics have been operationalized to facilitate the platformization of those domains. Platforms use automated scoring systems to rank content and actors across the markets they mediate. Search engines, e-commerce sites, and social media feeds all have ways to rank material and deliver it to users according to their calculation of “relevance.” This post explores metrics and gatekeeper power through the Google Scholar platform and its intermediation of the “scholarly economy”—the domain in which research is produced, consumed, bought and sold.