Back in 2008, after the dust was settling from the REF 2008 submission, HEFCE initiated a series of exercises to investigate whether bibliometric indicators of research quality (such as citation counts) could be used as part of the assessment for REF 2014. BU was one of 22 institutions that took part in the bibliometrics pilot, the result of which was that HEFCE concluded that citation information was not sufficiently robust enough to be used formulaically or as a primary indicator of quality but that there might be scope for it to inform and enhance processes of expert review in some disciplines. The REF 2014 guidelines stated that citation data would be provided for outputs submitted to all sub-panels in Main Panel A and some sub-panels in Main Panel B.
In April 2014, the Minister for Universities and Science asked HEFCE to undertake a fresh review of the role of metrics in determining quality, impact and other key characteristics of research undertaken in the HE sector. The review is being chaired by Professor James Wilsdon, Professor of Science and Democracy at the Science Policy Institute, University of Sussex.
HEFCE have launched a sector-wide call for evidence about research metrics and BU will be making an institutional response. BU colleagues are therefore invited to send feedback to me so that it can be considered as part of BU’s response. Colleagues are also invited to send individual responses to HEFCE.
Thinking back to 2008-09, I remember research metrics being an emotive subject and many researchers, both at BU and across the sector, were extremely skeptical of their use in research assessment. Although bibliometrics have moved on a long way since then I think that there will still be concern as to whether metrics are robust enough to be used formulaically, particularly in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
HEFCE have asked that responses focus on the following issues:
1. Identifying useful metrics for research assessment.
2. How should metrics be used in research assessment?
3. ‘Gaming’ and strategic use of metrics.
4. International perspective.
Further information about the call for evidence is available here: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/rsrch/howfundr/metrics/
It is anticipated that the outcome of the review will inform the framework for the next REF assessment so it is vitally important that HEFCE receive a high quality and quantity of feedback from all disciplines.
If you would like to contribute to the BU institutional response, please add your comments to this response form and email it to me (email@example.com) by Friday 30th May.
BU have just enabled a trial of Web of Knowledge Book Citation Index. It will last for 3 months, until 6th August.
The Book Citation Index allows you to search for books and book chapters using all of the fields and features available in Web of Science. They have added two new indexes to Web of Science:
- Book Citation Index– Science (BKCI-S) — 2005-present
- Book Citation Index– Social Sciences & Humanities (BKCI-SSH) — 2005-present
Key features available when searching for books and book chapters include:
- View citation counts captured for books and book chapters for Citing Articles, Cited References, Related Records, and Shared Records for all available years.
- View citation counts provided to book sources from journal articles and conference-proceedings that cite books and book chapters and vice-versa.
Whilst we don’t currently have a subscription, we are interested in seeing what the coverage is like for BU academics, particularly in the humanities and social sciences that have traditionally experienced less comprehensive coverage by citation databases, although science books are also covered. Please note, not all published books appear here, with concentration on purely research books rather than text books or more populist titles.
There are 143 items listed as having BU Authors:
Please have a look at what WoK can offer and provide feedback to Emma Crowley: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: Library and Learning Support
We’ve posted a number of times on the Blog about the benefits of using Twitter as an academic (you can read all of our past posts on Twitter here). For example, recent research indicates that highly tweeted articles were 11 times more likely to be highly cited than less-tweeted articles (Eysenbach, 2011).
Twitter is a micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Academics are increasingly promoting their research papers via twitter which is then picked up by other researchers and practitioners. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Twitter allows you to set up search terms to enable you to monitor what is being talked about in your areas of interest: You can then comment on the relevant conversations. The more you engage, the more people will follow you to listen to your comments and recommendations. As followers come to you, rather than you approaching them, Twitter is an ideal way to reach new audiences.
BestCollegesOnline.com has recently published an excellent guide on getting started with Twitter as an academic, and improving your use of Twitter to get better results. You can access their excellent guide here: 100 serious Twitter tips for academics. It’s well worth reading!!!!
The LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog recently published an article by Melissa Terras, Co-Director of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and Reader in Electronic Communication in UCL’s Department of Information Studies, who recently took all of her academic research to the web and found this resulted in a huge leap of interest in her work (you can read the full story and see the results here: The Verdict: Is Blogging or Tweeting Really Worth It?). Her conclusion was: If you want people to find and read your research, build up a digital presence in your discipline, and use it to promote your work when you have something interesting to share. If (social media interaction is often) then (Open access + social media = increased downloads).
Are any of you already using Twitter to promote your research? If so let us know by commenting on this post!
Following the release of the latest Journal Citation Reports® on the Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Science database, we have compiled a list of the top ranking journals in various fields related to BU research. BU staff can access these lists by going to the designated folder on the collaborative I-drive: I:\R&KEO\Public\RDU\Journal Impact Factors 2011. If there are any additional subject areas that you would like to see included, do send me an email.
Related blog posts that may be of interest:
Journal impact factors explained
There is often some confusion around Journal Impact Factors in terms of where they come from, how they’re calculated and what they mean. Hopefully the following will provide a brief explanation.
What are Journal Impact Factors?
Journal Impact Factors are just one of a number of journal analytical measures that form part of an online resource provided by Thomson Reuters on their Web of Knowledge called Journal Citation Reports® (JCR), which covers journals in the sciences, technology and social sciences. JCR provides a facility for the evaluation and comparison of journals across fields within the subject areas covered.
Other publications databases may provide their own tools for bibliometric or citation analysis (such as Elsevier’s Scopus) but Journal Impact Factors are only found on the Web of Knowledge.
A Journal Impact Factor is the average number of times that articles from a particular journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year.
How are Journal Impact Factors calculated?
Journal Impact Factors are calculated by dividing the number of citations to articles published by a particular journal in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. For example, an Impact Factor of 2.5 means that, on average, the articles published in that journal up to two years ago have been cited two and a half times. Citing articles may be from the same journal although most citing articles are from different journals.
The number of articles given for journals listed in JCR primarily include original research and review articles. Editorials, letters, news items and meeting abstracts are usually not included in article counts because they are not generally cited. Journals published in non-English languages or using non-Roman alphabets may be less accessible to researchers worldwide, which can influence their citation patterns.
How are Journal Impact Factors used?
Journal Impact Factors can help in understanding how many citations journals have received over a particular period – it is possible to see trends over time and across subject areas, and they may help when you’re deciding where to publish an academic paper. However, as with all statistics, Journal Impact Factors should be used with caution and should ideally be combined with other metrics depending on how they’re being applied.
Equally, a journal’s Impact Factor is not necessarily a direct indicator of the quality of an individual paper published in that journal. Some published articles never receive any citations, for various reasons, even if they appear in a high impact factored journal.
Journal Impact Factors and the REF
Some of the assessment panels will be provided with citation metrics as part of HEFCE’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) in some subject areas, which will help inform the panel members’ judgements. However, journal impact factors or equivalent journal ranking systems (e.g. the ABS list) will NOT be used at all within the assessment process.