Monday, November 28, 2011

Academia as X Factor

There is an interesting snippet in the Times Higher Education of November, 2011 by John Elmes. He is reporting on an experiment carried out by Melissa Terras from University College London where she uploads one paper a week to her institutional repository and then tweets and blogs about it (Melissa Terras Blog). She writes "prior to me blogging and tweeting about the paper it got downloaded twice (not by me). The day I tweeted and blogged, it immediately got 140 downloads. This was on a Friday: on the Saturday and Sunday it got downloaded but by fewer people - on Monday it was retweeted and it got a further 140 downloads. I have no idea what happened on 24 October (Monday) - someone must have linked to it? Posted it on a blog? Then there were a further 80 downloads and then it went quiet". She says this can lead to your statistics becoming an obsession and it also may be the drift towards "academia as X-Factor". Whatever the pros and cons it does show the impact of the use of social media.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Survey of Russell Group University use of Google Scholar Citations

There is an interesting post on UK WEB focus (written by Brian Kelly) of a survey carried out in the Russel Group Universities in the UK about their use of Google Scholar Citations
This raises some interesting questions about whether researchers are being proactive in claiming profiles in order to publicise their work and what happens in the case of those who may have passed away and cannot verify their Google account.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Google Citations

Yesterday (Nov. 17, 2011) Google released Google Citations to the general public. This is a simple way for authors to collect their articles together, gather the citations and track them over time. Definitely worth a look as it is also gathering material from Arrow@dit. More information from the Google Scholar Blog

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dangers of Handing Over Copyright

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization copyright law exists 

to encourage a dynamic culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.”

However, have you ever thought about what it means when instead of giving a publisher a licence to reproduce your work, you give them your copyright? Essentially you will not be able to reprint that piece in your collected works, or include any part of it in related works or put it on your website. You will not receive any fees should it be translated or adapted in any way. In fact to use your own work, you will have to ask the publishers permission and risk refusal! And this is when you will have done all the work and other academics will have carried out the refereeing process. So think about it before you sign the copyright form and at the very least, ask for permission to place your authors version on your institutional repository or website.

Free Resources

Free resources are generally thin on the ground so a timely article in Online by Barbie Keiser giving comprehensive coverage to a range of  free resources from Thomson Reuters . A section of the website is entitled Additional Free Resources and is broken down into Scholarly Literature, IP& Standards and Life Sciences. 
The website is worth looking at but two are definitely worth mentioning. Scholarly Literature gives you access to the master database of all the journal titles in Thomson Reuters scientific databases. Here you can recommend that a particular journal be included for indexing.
Science Watch ( provides access to all science metrics and analysis that track trends and performances in global research. Also Fast Breaking Papers, New Hot Papers, Emerging Research Fronts and Fast Movving Fronts
Full article Keiser, B.: Free Scientific Resources from Thomson Reuters, Online, July-August, 2011, pp.23-27.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

European Research Budget hits record high

The European Union's Research Budget has hit a record high including a major increase in funding for blue-skies research. The latest round of annual funding from the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme will see overall spending increase by more than  9% to €7 billion. Funding for the European Research Council which finances "frontier" research will increase by 23% to €1.6 billion.
Funding for Marie Curie Fellowships which researchers can take anywhere in the EU, will also rise by 17% to €900 million. The number of fellowships will increase from 7,000 to 10,000. The allocation to Marie Curie Action, which oversees the fellowships, will include €20 million for a pilot project to fund European Industrial Doctorates, intended to stimulate entrepreneurship and cooperation between universities, research institutions and companies.
The European Commission has ambitious plans to boost research funding by 46% over the next framework programme which begins in 2014. The 2014-2020 package will be worth €80 billion.

Growth in third level education

Professor Patrick Cunningham, the chief science advisor to the Goverment addressed the IRCHSS and IRCSET Postdoctoral Symposium at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin in July, 2011. He spoke about  how, over thirty years ago,  the sector had responded to the need  to create a more educated workforce to attract foreign companies and investment to Ireland.
"Of the OECD countries as a whole, those entering the workforce with third-level education have been increasing at a half per cent per year. So over 30 years it has come up about 15%. In Ireland, it has come up at a 60% faster rate. We started thirty years ago well below the OECD avergage and now, we're well above it".
However,in the 1990s, it was realised that this was not enough and the Goverment promised to create 1,000 Ph.Ds. every year. 
He continued "We're probably about average now - we have six per 1,000 of our workforce with qualifications at Ph.D. level. Some countries have a great deal more and those that we compete best against are actually moving faster than we are. Nevertheless, if we look back over the last ten years, there is a lot to be content about. We had grownth in the celtic tiger years of about 7% a year in GDP- extraordinary by Western European Standards- but in fact the investment in R&D both business and public, has been increasing by 14% twice that rate".
In 2011 IRCHSS and IRCSET will grant €10 million in awards to Irish researchers. 

Google Funds Research Institute

Google is to open a research institute in Germany . It is to invest $6.3 million dollars in the partnership with Humboldt University in Berlin and several other German Research Institutes. The Institute for Internet and Society which is expected to open in October, 2011 will study issues relating to the world wide web and its impact on users as well as regulation and copyright.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Journal, All-New Rules

(Article in the Times Higher Education by Paul Jump)

3 major biomedical funders UK Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US and the Max Planck Society are proposing to launch their own as yet untitled open access  journal next summer.  The funders have confirmed that the journal will span the Life Sciences, will be open to all researchers and will be edited by senior practising scientists without interference from the funders.
The impetus has come from a belief that the process of peer review needs to be owned by professional scientists. They cite what they term as the level of “nitpicking” that is going on unchecked because editors do not have the scientific knowledge to know when to call a halt.
The reviewers for the new journal (who may be paid) will commit to completing the review process in 3 to 4 weeks. The point was also made that journal editors are worried about the impact of their journal and will favour “ paradigm shifting discoveries “over solid scientific work.   Dr. Tijan (President of the Howard Hughes Institute said “but very often what happens in complex biological systems is the first few papers are wrong. Interest wanes..when in fact the best science is done two years down the line.”
 While there is opposition to the idea on the grounds that a journal needs professional editors,and that it would be better to make existing journals open access ,the last word goes to Dr. Tijan
 “Cost is not the biggest thing for us. We are more interested in the quality of the published papers and how to make the editing process efficient and rapid”.
Read the entire article in Times Higher Education 7-13, July, 2011, available online

Friday, July 8, 2011

Keeping versions of files

A Versions Toolkit has been produced by the Versions project in the UK. This is a guide for Researchers and Repository Staff in the context of Open Access. It offers advice on how to manage and organise your information in a digital world. You can download the full version of the toolkit here. However, their top 5 hints with regards to the different versions of your files are
  1. Consider and plan how you will store and name your personal versions of files.
  2.  Keep permanently your own Author-Created Submitted Versions and Final Author-Created Accepted Versions of your research publications.
  3. Add the date of completion of manuscript to the first page of any versions you create, especially the milestone versions.
  4. Consider carefully how you will disseminate your work before signing any agreeements with the publishers and keep a copy of all signed agreements.
  5. Deposit your work in an open access repository and think of your readers by guiding them to your latest and published versions 

Journal Articles
In this context it is useful to be aware of the most popular versions of a journal article which are generally termed as the Pre-Print, the Authors Final Version,the  Published Version.
The Pre-Print is the pre-refereed version. This is the version that will be submitted to a Publisher to go through a peer review process.
The Authors Final Version is the version the author receives back for proof reading after the article has been through the peer review process and all changes have been made. While it may have the publishers name on it, there will be no volume or issue information and  it may have "draft" or "submitted"imprinted on it . In most cases, this is the version you can put up on an open access repository
The Publishers PDF...this is the article as published, it will have the publishers branding on it and full citation information. In most cases you are not permitted to upload this version to an open access repository.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Data behind the Data

Enhanced Publications  is an interesting project which allows researchers to share the underlying data behind their research. The "enhancement" will bring together all the underlying data such as visualisations, data models, images, audio and so on. This news item is on the SURFfoundation website. The SURFshare programme aims to create a common infrastructure facilitating access to research information and make it possible for researchers to share scientific and scholarly information. Read the news item here

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maintaining Your Resume Online

As we all know there is a lot of competition for jobs in the current climate. Erica Swallow has lots of tips and suggestions for making your resume stand out online. Access the article here

Monday, May 30, 2011


This is a three year IUA funded project for the Universities, DIT, Major Funders, RSCI which makes the National Citations Database available. So for the first time, each institution is able to see its own bibliometric data and that of others. All partners are working together to make the best use of the information which is provided by Thomson Reuters based on the Web of Science.
The project will deliver an extensible suite of tools and resources for strategic research analysis and reporting to support cross-institutional research, 4th level collaboration, institutional bench-marking, and planning and decision-making on a local and national level. One really useful tool is the ability to compare the performance of institutions nationally.
The database can produce a number of outputs based on documents and citations such as this one showing
Research impact of each institution for the last 5 years

Impact for last 5 years

Copyright © 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Earlier web usage statistics as predictors of later citation impact

The use of citation counts to assess the impact of research articles is well established. However, the citation impact of an article can only be measured several years after it has been published. As research articles are increasingly accessed through the Web, the number of times an article is downloaded can be instantly recorded and counted. One would expect the number of times an article is read to be related both to the number of times it is cited and to how old the article is. This paper analyses how short-term Web usage impact predicts medium-term citation impact. The physics e-print archive is used to test this.
Strictly for the scientists!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Confused about Bibliometrics?

What are Bibliometrics?

Measures of a researcher's influence are called bibliometrics. Techniques for discerning this influence, or impact, range from simple counts of publications to sophisticated mathematical equations. Two of the most well-known bibliometrics are the impact factor, typically applied to journals, and the h-index, typically applied to authors.

What is an Impact Factor?
The impact factor, proposed by Eugene Garfield, is a ratio between citations and recent citable items published. Thus, the impact factor of a journal is calculated by dividing the number of current year citations to the source items published in that journal during the previous two years by the number of published articles in that journal during the previous two years. Journal Citation Reports calculates and publishes the annual impact factors for journals. A higher impact factor generally indicates that this journal's articles have been cited more.

What is an h-index?
The h-index was proposed by Jorge Hirsch in 2005 as an alternative to the impact factor. The h-index quantifies scientific productivity and the impact of a scientist based on the set of his/her most quoted papers and the number of citations that they have received in other people's publications. For example, an author or journal with an h-index of 30 has written at least 30 papers that have each had at least 30 citations. Thus, a higher h-index indicates more publications that have been cited more often. This metric is useful because it takes into account the uneven weight of highly cited papers or papers that have not yet been cited.

MyRi was a project between 4 Irish university libraries to produce a set of tools to support bibliometrics training. While most of it will not be of interest but just in case the homepage is here there is a very short and brief powerpoint presentation that takes some of the mystery away from bibliometrics and explains the H index..access here.
If you are interested in more information about the H Index Ann Wil Harzing of Publish and Perish Fame has a good article here