Academic curricula vitae (CVs) are on one hand a mundane administrative technology that is routinely used for bureaucratic and information retrieval purposes. But CVs also provide an important interface for a whole range of crucial reproductive and agenda-setting processes in science and scholarship. Individual researchers routinely imagine themselves through the lens of their CVs, and they use CVs for assessing each other’s achievements and future potential in hiring and funding decisions. A widely perceived problem in this context is that excellence in research is often equated with narrowly defined categories of achievement, such as publications in high impact journals, prestigious grants and citation metrics. Some have gone as far as to claim that academic CVs are becoming an increasingly important objective in their own right – scientists do science to build their résumés, rather than building résumés to do science. Yet growing discontent of many academics with the problematic effects of indicator-driven forms of research assessment has also given rise to experiments with alternative CV formats. International funding bodies and academic institutions in various countries have recently moved from a conventional to a more narrative CV format that is meant to broaden and diversify evaluative criteria, although the effects of these initiatives are still unclear.
Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of researchers as well as representatives of funding bodies and academic career policy makers, the workshop will generate both fundamental and practically relevant insight on the role of CVs in an increasingly competitive research system. Firstly, by means of various interactive sessions and group activities, the workshop will encourage participants to interrogate the formation of academic subjectivities through the disciplining lens of CVs. Academic communities, universities, but also policy discourse and proliferating self-help resources provide early career researchers with advice on what it takes to develop a competitive résumé. Systematic reflection on the ‘common sense’ that is thereby inculcated into young academics is needed to better align individual and collective priorities in research.
Secondly, the workshop will provide an opportunity for sharing experiences from recent experiments with alternative CV formats in research funding and academic hiring. Fostering networks among organizations that have undertaken experiments with narrative CV formats, the workshop will encourage participants to pool their insights and work towards a shared understanding of the necessary preconditions for such experimental initiatives to achieve their aims. One product of the workshop will be an evidence-based, practice-oriented guideline for how to structure and use CV formats in the context of grant programs as well as recruitment and yearly appraisal processes at universities in the future.
A third important aim of the workshop is to explore CVs as a data source for empirical research. CVs can be mined and analyzed to study scientific career trajectories, for example to address pressing questions regarding diversity in higher education, mobility patterns, or as a resource to better understand the constant intellectual reshaping of scientific fields. In addition, narrative CV materials can be studied to better understand practices of self-representation in an emerging genre of academic writing.