Issue 39 - December 2014

Research Trends Issue 39: Emerging indicators and standards for research assessment

After four years as Editor-in-Chief of Research Trends, Professor Henk Moed has decided to resign his duties.

During his tenure as Editor-in-Chief, Research Trends enjoyed the privilege of being guided and enriched by Henk. As a prestigious and well-acknowledged scholar in the bibliometrics community, Henk joined Elsevier as a senior scientific advisor and also took Research Trends under his wings. Under his supervision, Research Trends not only evolved in content but also in quality, becoming a respected publication followed by thousands, with several of its articles translated into different languages and cited regularly in peer reviewed journal articles. In addition to guiding the content and coverage of Research Trends, Henk also heavily contributed to each and every issue with thought-provoking research articles and analyses such as research evaluation approaches, new methods for regional and country level scientific output analysis, disciplinary and content analysis and many more. As Editor-in-Chief, Henk also broadened Research Trends’ scope by including interviews with leading scientific figures, reporting back from conferences and events and publishing special issues on current topics such as Big Data and Altmetrics.

Beyond his obvious scientific and professional contributions to Research Trends as a growing publication, he always served as a mentor to those of us on the Editorial Board. Offering scientific advice on methodologies, research topics and approaches, he encouraged each of us to pursue research and writing and strive to produce better articles in each and every issue. We would like to thank Henk for his enormous contribution, support and guidance to all of us and the publication as a whole and wish him luck in his future endeavors.

The current issue of Research Trends is dedicated to new and evolving methods and approaches to capturing and evaluating research impact. A new metric that measures the internationalization of institutions, developed by Hans Pohl, Guillaume Warnan and Jeroen Baas, is described in their contribution. Comparing their newly developed field-weighted approach to measure internationalization to existing methods, the authors demonstrate how an institution’s international collaboration can be more accurately captured.

Differences in funding foci and their influence on brain research in the USA and Europe are described by Georgin Lau and Dr. Judith Kamalski, demonstrating a new approach to funding data analysis using Elsevier fingerprinting technologies.

The topic of collaboration and scientific output is also discussed in George Lan’s article on the Sub-Saharan region’s scientific capacity. Adapted from a larger study conducted by the World Bank and Elsevier on the state of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics research in SSA (Sub-Saharan Africa), this article offers a look into the region’s collaborations, research capacity and output.

Finally, the topic of implementing standards in research metrics was one of discussion and debate at the latest STI conference, held at Leiden University in September, which is reported on in this issue. A more in-depth examination of this topic is offered by Dr. Lisa Colledge and myself, including the opinions of leading researchers whom we interviewed.

We hope you will enjoy this issue. We welcome your comments and feedback on its contents.

Kind regards,

Dr. Gali Halevi

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Issue 38 - September 2014

Research Trends Issue 38: Back to the future: 10 years of Scopus and beyond

This Special Issue of Research Trends is published in honor of the 10th anniversary of Scopus, Elsevier’s bibliographical database, launched in the fall of 2004. The common denominator of the contributions published in this issue is looking backwards in time, ten years or even longer, and illustrating the potential of Scopus in bibliometric studies of trends in the global science system. Although these studies look backwards in time, they also bear relevance to the present and future, as their outcomes and the explored bibliometric methodologies potentially contribute to a better understanding of the research process, and to an informed research policy.

The first contribution is written by Gali Halevi, in collaboration with me, Henk Moed. We present a list of the most frequently cited articles published in the past decade in eight main research areas, and highlight comments made by their authors on their achievements. Matthew Richardson analyzes a decade’s research trends in the domain of virology by applying topic identification and visualization techniques, and Andrew Plume depicts developments in a hot topic in the field of materials science: graphene research.

In his next contribution, Andrew and Daphne van Weijen present patterns in co-authorship, for instance, in the number of co-authors in research articles, during the past 10 years and more. The quality, archiving, availability and re-use of research data are gaining more and more interest. A detailed analysis of data on cited references in Scopus enabled Sarah Huggett to trace the visibility of research data in the published literature.

The next two contributions focus on nations rather than subject fields as the primary object of analysis. Stephanie Oeben and Sarah Huggett analyze trends in German publication output and its citation impact, while Gali Halevi and I present a model for the development phases of a country’s research system. Our study focuses on countries in Asia, the region in which an important conference on research assessment took place in June 2014, the APAC Research Intelligence Conference. And in the last contribution of this issue, Alexander van Servellen and Ikuko Oba report back on this event.

On behalf of the Editorial Team, I hope that you will enjoy reading this issue. Please do share your thoughts and feedback with us, either by inserting your comments in the section following each article on our website, or by sending us an email (researchtrends@elsevier.com). We look forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,

Dr. Henk F. Moed

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Issue 37 - June 2014

Research Trends - Issue 37: Special Issue on alternative metrics

This special issue of Research Trends is dedicated to altmetrics, or, as some may prefer, alternative metrics. The growing interest in the development of alternative measurements of scientific productivity resulted in the 2010 Altmetrics manifesto in which the term “altmetrics” was introduced. The manifesto notes that “in growing numbers, scholars are moving their everyday work to the web”, and that new online tools “reflect and transmit scholarly impact”. This “forms a composite trace of impact far richer than any available before; we call the elements of this trace altmetrics”.

In his historical account, Mike Thelwall covers the use of social web services. He dedicates attention to Mendeley and Twitter. He also underlines the need to further validate altmetrics, by investigating the degree to which they correlate with – or predict – citation counts and other traditional measures. Ron Daniel addresses the issue of how past citation prediction studies showed so little consistency in their results, and indicates the potential of altmetrics. Hadas Shema introduces another promising altmetric data source: scholarly blogs.

The rapid ICT development is a first principal driver of new metrics in general. It is not only reflected in the emergence of social web services, but also, for instance, in the further digitalization of scientific information. Electronic user log files of publication archives provide traces of another aspect of scholars’ everyday work, namely their literature browsing and perhaps their reading behavior. In this sense, indicators of full text downloads of scholarly publications can be conceived as altmetrics as well.

A team of 5 researchers headed by Christian Schlögl interprets correlations between citation, full text download and readership data in terms of the degree in overlap between the user communities of the three systems from which data was extracted. Vicente P. Guerrero-Bote and Félix Moya-Anegón also examine statistical correlations between downloads and citations. They focus on the role of publication language, and analyze less visible journals publishing in languages other than English and clearly show how the two types of measures are complementary – one type may reveal patterns that are invisible in the other. As Euan Adie outlines in his contribution, another aspect of digitalization is that more and more grey literature including pre-prints and policy documents become available for research and as a source for new metrics. However, in a discussion with Mike Taylor, Juan Pablo Alperin warns that differences in access to new technology exist between scientifically developing and developed countries that can have negative implications for the former group of countries even in altmetrics research.

A second principal driver of the development of new metrics is the Open Science movement, directed towards making scientific research, data, and dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, whether amateur or professional. Perhaps the base notions of this movement can be characterized as expressions of the fundamental ethos of science in a digital or computerized age. As William Gunn explains, research funding agencies seek to maximize the potential of their funded outputs including papers, methods, and data. This urges us to develop new metrics of reuse that go beyond classical citations.

This brings us to a third driver: the research policy domain. This is also clearly reflected in the contribution by Judit Bar-Ilan who introduces the portfolio concept developed in the ACUMEN project (Academic Careers Understood through Measurement and Norms) funded by the European Commission, aimed at “studying and proposing alternative and broader ways of measuring the productivity and performance of individual researchers”. The author shows how online and social media presence and altmetrics are well represented in the expertise, output and influence sub-portfolios.

We believe the contributions in this Special Issue cover the major trends in the development of new metrics, and are written by leading researchers in the field. We hope you will enjoy reading them.

Please share your thoughts and feedback with us. You can do this in the comments section following each article on our website or by sending us an email (researchtrends@elsevier.com)

Kind regards,

Mike Taylor, Gali Halevi and Henk F. Moed

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