Category / BU research

Congratulations to our first BU Research Development Fund winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the first round of the new BU Research Development Fund – Small Grants Scheme!

We received 14 applications in total of which only 5 were funded so this is an excellent achievement for all of the BU staff listed below 🙂

Dr Joanne Mayoh, School of Tourism – Jo is an early career researcher and is currently developing her research career through targeted networking, publishing journal papers and presenting at conferences. The funding will support her to present a paper at an international conference in 2012.

 

Dr Richard Shipway, School of Tourism – The School has already established strong links with the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management at the University of South Carolina (USC). The funding will enable Richard to visit USC to further this collaboration with a view to establishing a strategic international partnership between BU and USC. This will have two main benefits: 1) the development of a research network for joint funding and publications; 2) to set up a programme of placements and staff/student exchanges.

Dr Heather Hartwell and Dr Ann Hemingway, School of Tourism and School of Health and Social Care – Through a cross-School collaboration, Heather and Ann will use the funds to develop a theoretical framework for the synergistic alliance of tourism and public health. It is hoped this will lead to published outputs, local and national collaborations, and to support the new Health, Wellbeing and Ageing BU research theme.

 Dr Sarah Bate and Dr Ben Parris, School of Design, Engineering and Computing – Sarah (an early career researcher) and Ben will be using the funds to conduct a psychological experiment to see whether the inhalation of the hormone oxytocin can improve the identification of perpetrators in a video identification parade, after prior exposure to a crime.

 

Dr Lorraine Brown and Prof Barry Richards, School of Tourism and Media School – Lorraine and Barry will work collaboratively across Schools to investigate the impact of media representations on Muslims and of Islam on the lived experiences of international Muslim students. They aim to publishthe results in journal papers and present at international conferences during 2012.

We will be featuring updates on these internally funded projects in future on the blog!

The next round of the Research Development Fund – Small Grants Scheme closes on 28 February 2012. You can find out more about the fund and details of how to submit a proposal here: BU Research Development Fund

For details of all internal funding opportunities visit the BU Internal Funding Opportunities page on the blog.

RDU meet and greet event a great success!

I can’t believe it has taken me nearly three months to blog about the RDU meet and greet event held in early September in the Atrium, but it has.

The event was a great success and gave us the opportunity to talk to a lot of academic colleagues about the services offered by the RDU (such as the RPRS, the Open Access Publication Fund, the Research Development Fund, EU funding opportunities, the REF, BU’s new research management system BRIAN, etc).

It also gave you the opportunity to tell us what else you’d like us to do and what we could do better.

And we all ate research blog cakes 🙂

We’re aiming to hold more of these type of informal events so would love to hear your feedback and suggestions as to how they could work in future.

 

 

Using computational intelligence to develop predictive modelling that benefits organisations

Watch this excellent short video from BU’s Professor Bodgan Gabrys on the Computer Intelligence EU grant (INFER project) used to develop predictive modelling that’s applicable to multiple industries.

To see other BU videos on YouTube go to the BU YouTube page!

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r5zGqCtVSc

Grant Writing Workshops for Staff – Research Councils Focus

Next week the Research Development Unit are organising 2 full day workshops on preparing applications for the research councils.  The workshops will be run by Martin Pickard, who has 25 years experience of writing, supporting and managing literally thousands of research proposals and has worked across Europe with a large number of universities, research institutes, industrial firms and international companies.

  • 23rd November will be focused on social sciences and humanities research council bids. 
  • 24th November will be focused on applied and natural sciences research council bids, including engineering.

There are still one or two places left on the 23rd and several places on 24th.  If you would like to attend please contact Susan Dowdle asap.

Research Funding, Society & Research @ BU

Over the last decade, but particularly in the last five years, BU has matured into a university with a strong research track record with some of the most talented researchers anywhere in the world.  It is a fantastic success story and one to be justifiably proud.  Take a look at the graph which shows the growth in our published output as depicted by Scopus data; it truly something!  Our output has grown at a rate of over 13% compared to 3.7% for the UK as a whole.

RAE2008 was a milestone in this journey – the fourth most improved University was the well-deserved headline!   There is much to shout about but we also have to think carefully about how we can continue this trajectory building on this foundation.

To do this we will need to find more income.  Our research income per academic FTE remains modest at around £6.5k compared to a sector average of £50k per FTE.  To grow our research base further we need to up our game.  You may ask why?  Well to make another step change and ensure that we are not just left in the stocks as a teaching-only university as the sector shifts in the coming years we need to grow our learning community of research students, research assistants and post-doctoral fellows which are the lifeblood of a successful research active university.   To do this we will need to attract much more external research income.  It is not, however, just a question of bidding more, but critically of increasing the quality of our bids and thereby our success rates.

There are many reasons why a shift to a research culture driven by societal need is important, not least of which is to give something back as a public institution to society, but it is also important to ensure our ability to bid more successfully for funds in the future.  Let me use my own career as an illustration.  My first passion is glacial geology and I spent much of the 1990s studying the esoteric discipline of sediment transport in Arctic glaciers.  It was a fantastic period in my life in which I was perpetually scraping together funds for my next field trip and never more at home than on some frozen glacier.  Money was not easy to come by because in truth there was little funding available for such work, to be blunt it has little or no societal relevance.  It was not until I joined BU in 2002 that I started to reinvent my research direction working for the first time in the field of contaminated land as an environmental geologist and starting to work first in Central America and then in Africa on aspects of human evolution.  During this second part of my career my success rate with Research Councils increased three-fold, as did the total amount of research income I generated.  In essence I shifted from a field with little societal relevance to one with huge value. My passion for research remains but is just directed slightly differently!  At the heart of this story is the fact that I was able to transfer my skills as sedimentologist – someone who studies dirt – from one discipline to another.

Within BU we have a lot of active and talented researchers some of whom are working in fields of societal importance but some whom are not, preferring to pursue their own, often narrow, research agenda.  By shifting to a more societal focus for the majority of our research our ability to generate income and achieve societal impact is likely to be much greater and this is a shift that we need to make together over the next year or so.  A shift which is something that is essential if we are to make BU2018 a reality.

During the last year BU has been through a process of defining societal research themes and it is worth refreshing ourselves about this journey.  The initial candidate set of themes was generated from a trawl of all the priority funding areas for all major research funding bodies (Research Councils, European Commission, major charities, etc).  This list was debated and refined by the BU Professoriate and subject to an all staff survey, in which candidate themes where put to the public vote.  The remaining ten themes were scoped out and defined and then whittled to eight earlier this year via debate on this blog.  These are the research themes on which BU has chosen to focus its societal research effort.  But crucially they are still up for debate, evolution and further discussion.  To this end I recently invited all staff to an event on the 14 December 2011 at which the research themes will be scoped further and networks of researchers created.  If you have not signed up yet I would encourage you to do so!

To register your place at the Fusion Event on 14 December complete this form:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your School / Professional Service (required)

Staff or PGR student? (required)
StaffPGR

Please select the themes that you are interested in (required)

See the BU Research Themes brought to life with our excellent short videos!

Over the next couple of weeks we will be posting a series of YouTube videos to the blog which illustrate examples of the excellent research being undertaken at BU within each of the 8 BU Research Themes.

The first video went live today in the Recreation and Leisure section of the blog, and features Prof Alan Fyall (School of Tourism) discussing the research he has undertaken with the Malaysian Tourism Board to develop a sports tourism policy.

The videos were produced internally by the Marketing & Communications team and provide excellent, colourful and lively examples of BU research brought to life. They are intended to give an insight into the research going on within the Themes.

We’d love to receive your feedback on the videos! Just add a comment to this post 😀

To see other BU videos on YouTube go to the BU YouTube page.

Discrepancies in guidance from funders

We in RKE Operations have recently become aware of some discrepancies within funders’ guidance notes. In some instances, separate sets of guidance for the same call have provided different information. In others, guidance notes relating to a specific call have been released a while after the call notes, and have included important and relevant information for writing the bid. In order to guard against this, we recommend:

–          Checking back regularly – up to the date of submission – on the funder’s website in case they have released amended or supplemental  guidance.

–          Where amended guidance is released, always using the most up-to-date version.

–          Ensuring that all guidance notes are read thoroughly – important information may be found hidden where you least expect it.

–          If bids are submitted through an electronic system, this includes reading the guidance notes relevant to and attached to the e-system as well.

–          If different sets of guidance for the same call give conflicting information, check with the funder (or ask us to do so).

If the guidance isn’t clear or doesn’t give you the information you need, funders are generally happy to help – as are we in RKE Operations – so feel free to pick up the phone.

ResearcherID – an online tool for building a publications profile

What is ResearcherID?

ResearcherID is a facility provided via the Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge database. You can register for a unique researcher identification number which enables you to link directly to your published outputs and avoid the common problem of author misidentification. Users can update their profile information, build their publication list by using the Thomson Reuters Web of Science search facilities or by uploading files, and opt to make their profile public or private. Registered as well as non-registered users can search the ResearcherID registry to view profiles and find potential collaborators. You can also now search ResearcherID from within the Web of Science.

A ResearcherID number is a unique identifier that consists of alphanumeric characters. Each number contains the year you registered.

The benefits of registering for ResearcherID

The main benefit is the ability to build your own custom profile and correctly identify you as the author of your publications. Once registered, you will be provided with the tools to build your publication list by searching ISI Web of Knowledge and Web of Science, or by uploading your own list. You can choose whether or not to make your profile public.

ResearcherID is also integrated with EndNote Web, so you can build your online publication list either by searching Web of Science or uploading RIS files, or by using the EndNote Web online search. You can also manage your publication list via EndNote Web. For a tutorial on using EndNote Web, click here.

Once you’ve put together your publications list, you can then generate the following citation metrics for items available in the Web of Science:

  • H-index
  • Citation distribution per year
  • Total Times Cited count
  • Average Times Cited count

These metrics will be automatically updated in ResearcherID from the Web of Science as new data is added to the Web of Science.

ResearcherID can also help you find potential research collaborators by enabling you to search the ResearcherID registry. You can also explore an interactive map that can help you locate researchers by country and topic, or you can use the new country ‘tag cloud’.

Registering for ResearcherID

Go to the ResearcherID homepage then click on ‘Register’ and complete the short online form. You will be sent an email with a link to ResearcherID and a more detailed form appears for you to complete. Once you have completed this, and accepted the terms and conditions, you will receive your unique ResearcherID. Note that you will be sent these details in an email.

When you log in using your ResearcherID and password, you will be taken to your own publications web page with a unique URL. You can include this link on your email signatures so that others can easily access your publications.

Managing your publications

Under ‘MyPublications’ you will have an option to ‘Add’. Alternatively there is an ‘Add Publications’ button on the right hand side of the screen that will take you to the same location. This will give you the three options of searching for or adding a file:

  • ISI Web of Science
  • EndNote Web
  • RIS text file

Clicking on the publications database will bring up a search screen. Ensure that your surname and initials are correctly entered and click search. Any publications that are already included on your ResearcherID web page will appear in the list and be ticked already. If you wish to add others, tick the relevant box and click ‘Add selections to MyPublications’. The process works the same for all databases. Please note that you need to have an EndNote Web account.

To delete publications, simply click on the ‘Manage’ button under MyPublications.

For a ResearcherID factsheet, click here.

ST research methods seminars – exploding beans, quantitative data collection, Hamlet and Brian Cox…

As previously mentioned, the School of Tourism has launched a programme of seminars on research methods for its research students.  The 12 seminars over the next 4 months provide an introduction to the broad range of research methods used by our PhD students, and I thought that  you  might like an update, now that we are three seminars into the programme. 

I led the first seminar on Initial Considerations in Research, where we examined issues relating to ontology, epistemology and axiology.  This time, the can of beans did not explode (a long story) and the interest (or was it confusion) has given rise to a series of potential parallel seminars looking at Philosophy.  The first two titles in this sub-series are: Towards a true understanding of reality. Ha, ha, ha! and The definitive guide to post modernism. Ha, ha, ha! (or alternatively, a spurious siren from the pre-ancient. Tears, crying and woe?).

The second session brought us back down to earth when Professor Roger Vaughan looked at the Quantitative Data Collection Process.  Roger has a fantastic ability to produce a coherent structure on which to hang complex ideas.  His emphasis on preparing well in order to make data collection easy (ier) was an object lesson for those tempted to charge headlong into gathering data without some deep reflection, as were his insights into the way that elements of what you do at the start of a PhD reappear and eventually come full circle.

The third session, led by Dr Lorraine Brown, looked at The Features of Qualitative Research.  I think that Lorraine exhibits a really embodied understanding of the qualitative research process and this came across in the seminar.  Naively some think that qualitative research is easy, possibly because they haven’t done it -“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” Hamlet 1:5.  Student and staff jaws did drop when she mentioned that she had managed to realize 10 research papers from her PhD.  Another object lesson to us all.  As was the quote from the Physicist Professor Brian Cox on Radio 4….”Science makes no claim to be right. Quantum mechanics requires you to jettison your perceptions of the world………..”

 

Sean Beer

BSc. (Hons.), PGDip. AgSci., PGCert. RDS., Cert. Ed., NSch.

Winston Churchill Fellow. Rotary Foundation Scholar.

Senior Lecturer, School of Tourism, Bournemouth University.

Profile: http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/about/people_at_bu/our_academic_staff/SM/profiles/sbeer.html

Publications: http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/view/author/0de16b19f785821dc6cc6c5e2af05d37.html

REF week on the blog! A Ramble about REF

It’s REF week on the Research Blog and I also have to give a talk to the BU Board on Thursday about progress with our REF preparations, but I am sitting here wondering what to write?  Does this often happen to you?  I often put these things off and turn my hand to something else, like the paper I am currently struggling to complete, or keeping up with my email correspondence rather than tackle the task in hand.  But you see, here am I avoiding starting on the piece again, so I had better get started before it gets any later.

For the Board presentation I am taking a historical view of REF and its ancestors.  It started out in 1985 as the Research Selectivity Exercise, before progressing in its third iteration to the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 1992 which was the first time research funds (QR – Quality Research Income) was distributed as a consequence of the outcome.  In some ways it was only in 1997 that universities had really got their act together and begun to take the RAE seriously, and by 2001 it was a major focus of energy in higher education and was beginning to result in a progressive concentration of research funding in a few key institutions.  BU’s greatest success to date was in 2008 when we were the fourth most improved university in the country, and for the first time BU started to receive significant QR income as a result. 

Apart from dominating the lives of many researchers, you may well ask what it has done for UK research.  Well, the answer is actually a huge ton!  In the 1970s, research in UK universities was funded via a government block grant and the UK was a middle-ranking research power, complacent, inefficient and underperforming.  According to the recent BIS survey with the catchy title International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base – 2011 the UK is now a leading research nation in the world, second only to the US.  The much quoted headlines run something like: 1% of the world’s population, 3% of R&D spend, 4% of researchers, but 6% of articles, 10% of citations, 14% of the most cited articles.  According to HEFCE, for every pound spent on research in the UK you get between four and seven pounds back.  When seen in this context, the RAE has done its job extremely well by introducing competition into the sector.  There are parallels here with the current move to introduce competition around student numbers.

Since RAE2008, goal posts have changed again as the name has changed to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) with the introduction of ‘Impact’ as an element of the assessment.  In 2014, it will contribute 20% of the overall profile that a Unit of Assessment (UOA) will receive.  At its simplest, impact is about justifying research spending from the public purse by demonstrating the societal benefit – economic, environmental, social, or cultural – from research.  It is a great concept and speaks to the heart of societal relevance which we are placing at the centre of BU’s future research strategy.  It will be assessed as part of REF via a series of case studies and each case study has to be based on a piece or body of research undertaken in the last 15 years, with an evidenced impact since 2008.  The basic idea is that impact often takes time to come to fruition, but for a youthful institution like our own this is challenging since the research belongs to the university where it was done, not to the researcher. In the last 5 years there has been a steady influx of talented researchers to BU, but in many cases their impact belongs to another university!  

The need to evidence societal benefit is also important – it’s not enough just to have changed government policy for example; one needs to demonstrate the benefit of that change to ordinary people.  The example we often use is that of seatbelts.  Professor X does some research into seat belts and convinces government to legislate with respect to their introduction.  This only counts, however, as interim impact – to complete the case study, one would have to demonstrate how that legislation has reduced road traffic accidents.  So evidencing one’s claim is critical.  I have used this example on several occasions but was somewhat challenged when an individual in the audience pointed out that this could also be construed in a negative way since seatbelts have reduced the number of organ donors!  You will no doubt be able to guess at this point that I was talking to staff in HSC at the time. 

The point is that it is all about the narrative you build from a piece of research and how you evidence that claim.  There are some challenges for us around the issue of impact, but it also offers great opportunity.  So I think it is time for me to finish here and go back to working on my Board presentation.

Getting Out There

When I finished my PhD here at BU in 2006, all I had to show for it was…a PhD. There is nothing wrong with that, but my research career only really began when I had completed my doctoral studies; I presented my first international conference paper the following year, and my first journal article finally appeared a year after that.

Now I’m a supervisor of PhD students, and most are already submitting their work to conferences and writing journal articles. This provides a corollary to my own advice and support, and in many ways it also holds me to account. In June, the Times Higher Education reported that:

 “For those hoping to progress to a more stable academic career, the figures make for depressing reading. The NSF estimates that only 26 per cent of recent PhD recipients in the US will secure a tenure-track position. UK postdocs appear to have even more reason for pessimism” (Jump, 2011).

This is rather a bleak assessment, but even so, it is clear that a PhD is no longer the ‘entry level’ route into a research career it once was. At BU, we want our PGRs to be competitive, so it is imperative that our PGRs have a clutch of conference papers, a publication-or-two and a bit of teaching experience behind them on exiting their doctoral research.

This workload must of course be carefully managed, but there is nothing to stop full-time BU PGRs undertaking our P/G Cert in Education Practice. As for publications, there are now hundreds of open access journals online, and even some of the most prestigious ones have themed issues and room for smaller ‘research reports’ on work in progress. All supervisors need to be aware of these places and not leave it for their students to find them.

BU has a postgraduate conference each year, which is an excellent nursery for presenting at national and international conferences later. Most subject areas now have established conferences; the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association has both a national conference and a dedicated postgraduate one – which BU hosted this year. Just last week I met an eminent broadcasting history scholar who praised a BU PGR she had seen at a recent symposium in Winchester. This can only reflect well on us and validates the students’ work.

So if our PhD students finished with…just a PhD, then to an extent we have failed them. Part of being a good PhD supervisor is not just to help bring the project to completion, but to also nurture the beginnings of a research career; the dialogue with ‘outside’ scholarship needs to get going as soon as possible.

 

Richard Berger – Associate Prof & Head of Postgraduate Research, The Media School.

Study reveals risks from carp parasite

A joint Bournemouth University(BU) & Environment Agency (EA) study, published in the Public Library of Science journal ‘PLoS One’, has revealed how infections of the tapeworm Bothriocephalus acheilognathi affect juvenile carp Cyprinus carpio in fisheries in England andWales.

CarpDr Chris Williams from the EA said: “This work provides important evidence about how alien parasites can cause harm to our fish populations. It gives us a better understanding of the risks these parasites pose to fish, the environment and our fisheries.”

The study showed the parasite comprised up to 12 % of an infected carp’s body weight. The tapeworm was always found in the intestine, causing considerable damage. Infected fish were found to be lower in weight, growing more slowly and feeding on less nutritive foods.

Dr Robert Britton, who led the study from BU’s ecology department, said: “It was highly apparent that infected carp suffered multiple pathological and ecological consequences, suggesting fisheries infected with Bothriocephalus will be damaged.”

The fact that carp fisheries and the recreational value of carp fishing are worth millions of pounds to the UK economy means it is vital to prevent infection. Fortunately, the Asian tapeworm is currently subject to strict regulation inEnglandandWalesby the Environment Agency.

Dr Williams continued: “We will use this knowledge to advise our regulation of fish movements and the advice we provide to fishery managers to minimise the spread and impact of these parasites.”

Fusion event 14 December – Launch of the BU Research Themes

On the afternoon of the 14 December 2011 we will be launching the Fusion Seminar series with an event focused around launching the eight BU Research Themes.  It would be great if you could hold this date within your calendars and register for the event.

January through to March the monthly Fusion Seminar series will focus on sharing research, education and professional practice within BU and will culminate in April in a one-day Fusion conference involving both staff and students when the key research themes will be centre stage.  Dates for these events are:

  • 18 January (1.5 hours)
  • 22 February (1.5 hours)
  • 21 March (1.5 hours)
  • 18 April (whole day)

The event on the 14 December is the first in this programme and will focus on Fusion within the eight BU Research Themes.  Following consultation these themes are now fixed as: (1) Health, Wellbeing & Aging; (2) Culture & Society; (3) Creative & Digital Economies; (4) Entrepreneurship & Economic Growth; (5) Environmental Change & Biodiversity; (6) Green Economy & Sustainability; (7) Leisure & Recreation; and (8) Technology & Design.  The event will combine time for cross-BU networking within these themes, with some short keynote talks by theme champions focusing on defining the challenges in education, research & practice within each theme.  We are still looking for one or more champions per theme to step forward and help shape the theme and also the event on the 14 December.  Please get in touch with either myself or Julie Northam.  Once we have all the speakers in place we will be back in touch with a full programme.

You can register for the event and sign-up for the themes most relevant to you using the form below.  It is important to register for the themes that interest you so that we can schedule the parallel sessions accordingly to avoid clashes!

Best wishes

Matthew

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your School / Professional Service (required)

Staff or PGR student? (required)
StaffPGR

Please select the themes that you are interested in (required)

Bibliometrics need not be baffling!

What are bibliometrics?

Bibliometrics are a set of methods used to study or measure text and information. Citation analysis and content analysis are the most commonly used bibliometric methods. Bibliometric methods can help you explore the academic impact of a field, a set of researchers or a particular journal paper.

What is citation analysis?

Citation analysis looks at where a document has been referenced by others since it was originally published – this information can be used when searching for materials and in analysing their merit. Undertaking citation analysis on yourself is useful for assessing your own research performance. Specialist databases such as Web of Science and Scopus provide various tools for doing this analysis.

Searching for citation information on the Web of ScienceSM

Web of ScienceSM is hosted by Thomson Reuters and consists of various databases containing information gathered from thousands of scholarly journals, books, book series, reports, conference proceedings, and more:

  • Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-Expanded)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI)
  • Index Chemicus (IC)
  • Current Chemical Reactions (CCR-Expanded)
  • Book Citations Index – coming soon!

These databases enable you to perform a variety of tasks, such as search published literature, undertake citation analysis, track new research within a particular field, and identify chemical compounds and reactions. Data is available from around 1990, and even earlier in some cases.

By producing a Web of ScienceSM Citation Report for yourself (or for others), you can find out who is citing your work and how it is being used in other people’s publications so that you can get a feel for the overall citation activity around your outputs. Search for an author’s name and then click on ‘Create Citation Report’ from the results page.

Producing this report will give you information such as the number of items published in each year, the number of citations to those items for each year, the average number of citations per item, and your h-index based on this information. Click here for web tutorials on how to use the Web of ScienceSM.

Searching for citation information on Scopus

Scopus, part of Elsevier’s SciVerse facility, was launched in November 2004 and is an abstract and citation database containing around 19,500 titles from more than 5,000 publishers. Scopus enables researchers to track, analyse and visualise research, and has broad coverage of the scientific, technical, medical and social sciences fields and, more recently, the arts and humanities. Data is currently largely available from 1996 but it does go back further than this in some cases. For more information about Scopus, click here.

By searching for yourself (or others) on the Scopus database using the author search facility, you can use the ‘View Citation Overview’ function to get a feel for the citations activity around your outputs. The information is presented and can be analysed in a number of ways, including pie charts, graphs and tables, and shows the breakdown of citation activity over a number of years and your h-index based on this data. Various tutorials on using Scopus can be accessed here.

Scopus and the Research Excellence Framework (REF): HEFCE has announced that Elsevier have been chosen as the provider of citation data services to the REF sub-panels that have chosen to make use of citation information as part of the assessment process. Using the Scopus database, HEFCE will provide the relevant sub-panels with raw citation data (i.e. not normalised) accompanied by contextual information, which will assist those panel members in making decisions about the outputs part of the REF submissions.

What is the h-index?

The h-index was conceived by Professor Jorge Hirsch in 2005 within the field of physics and is fast becoming one of the most widely used metrics for research evaluation. It is also becoming increasingly used as a measure of research activity and academic prominence across various subject areas.

The benefit of the h-index over other citation measures is that it is not influenced by a few highly cited papers and it ignores any papers that remain uncited. It is calculated based on the number of papers by a particular author that receive h or more citations. Therefore, an h-index of 15 means that a person has at least 15 papers that have been cited 15 times or more. Fortunately, the Web of Science and Scopus both automatically calculate the h-index as part of their citation analysis functions so there is no need to work it out manually.

If you’d like to know more about the h-index, the original research document can be accessed from the Cornell University Library webpage.

What are journal impact factors?

Journal Impact Factors are published annually on the Web of Knowledge and provide a way of ranking journals based on the citation performance of articles published by those journals from the previous two years. For more information about how impact factors are calculated and how they can be used, see my previous blog post.

Other methods of ranking journals also exist, such as the ABS Academic Journal Quality Guide and the ERA journal ranking list. Journal rankings can be useful when choosing which journal to publish in, for example.