Data providers, evaluators, funders and the Scientometric community must work together to not only aggregate, calculate and produce metrics, but also test them in different contexts and educate the wider audience as to their proper use. The latest STI conference, held at Leiden University in September, focused on the topic of implementing standards in research metrics.
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Gali Halevi attended the conference and reports back. Invented by Diana Wildschut, Harmen Zijp and Patrick Nederkoorn, the reporters had three hours to find out what was happening at the conference and report about it using s equipment and without telephones or internet 2.
The result was a hilarious newsletter published every day and handed to the audience who came to realize how the world of Scientometrics looks to outsiders. The Daily Issue; No. Some of the most valuable scientific outcomes are the result of accidental discoveries. This article explores the possibility of a metric of serendipity.
Firstly, a clear distinction has to be made between a serendipity indicator and a serendipitous indicator. The latter may only be meaningful in the way it could assist chance events in finding information.
More interesting however, it could be to actually measure, or at least estimate, the degree of serendipity that led to a research result. And yet another angle would be the presentation of research that might facilitate its receivers, e. Alongside the traditional topics often discussed at the STI conference such as statistical representation of scientific output in forms of performance indicators and metrics, this year the conference put a strong focus on innovation. New datasets and algorithms were among the topics given significant attention. Examples include new data derived from funding systems which were explored in relation to productivity, efficiency, and patenting.
Looking at the factors that influence participation in government funded programs, Lepori et al. They also showed that these numbers can be predicted with high precision from organizational characteristics and, especially, size and international reputation. Relationships between funding, competitiveness and performance 4 were found to contradict previous findings, whereas here the researchers found that the share of institutional funding does not correlate with competitiveness, overall performance, and top performance.
Additional research papers using funding systems data are available here. New gender and career data currently available brought forth a series of studies dedicated to the relationship between gender, career level and scientific output.
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Van der Weijden and Calero Medina 5 studied the oeuvres of female and male scientists in academic publishing using bibliometrics. Using data from the ACUMEN survey 6 , their analysis confirmed the traditional gender pattern: men produce on average a higher number of publications compared to women, regardless of their academic position and research field, and women are not evenly represented across authorship positions. Paul-Hus et al. They found that gender parity is far from being achieved and that women remain underrepresented in terms of their relative contribution to scientific output across disciplines.
Sugimoto et al. Career-related studies also open new paths to understanding the relationships between academic positions, publishing, and relative scientific contributions of researchers throughout their careers. Derycke et al. Measures of online attention, a topic of discussion in the past couple of years, was given special focus at the conference with probably the most studies featured in a session. In addition, the selected keynote lectures provided some overall strategic insight into metrics development.
Diana Hicks and Henk Moed encouraged the audience to think more strategically about the application of metrics for evaluation purposes. The 7 principles manifesto suggested by Diana Hicks provides evaluators with a framework which can be used to perform assessments of researchers, institutions and programs. This manifesto was picked up by the CWTS group in Leiden headed by Paul Wouters, who is now working on creating an agreed upon set of principles that could potentially inform evaluation and funding systems Henk Moed 19 called for special attention to be given to the context and purpose of evaluation, using meta-analysis to inform the choice of data and methodology of the evaluation.
If there is one message that could be drawn from this conference it is that the plethora of recently available data, statistical analysis and indicators is an overall positive development only if they are used in the correct context and are able to answer the questions posed.
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There is no one metric that fits all evaluation objectives and therefore the data selected, the method used and the conclusions drawn must be made carefully, keeping in mind that context is probably the key factor to successful assessment. The country of South Africa is considered separately and independently from Sub-Saharan Africa due to large differences in research capacity and output between the two.
By many measures, SSA has made great strides in its research performance, doubling its overall research output over the past decade and significantly increasing its global article share 4. However, as past studies show, article growth in other countries and regions in the developing world — particular Asia — outpaced that of SSA in recent years 5. Moreover, SSA researchers collaborate extensively with international colleagues. However, echoing the findings of past studies 6 , collaboration between different African regions remains low.
Moreover, more than half of those inter-regional collaborations were co-authored with colleagues from institutions in OECD countries Note 2. Figure 1 - International and Inter-regional collaborations as percentage of Sub-Saharan African total research output, Source: Scopus. The bottom three trend lines correspond specifically to collaborations in which no co-authors were affiliated with institutions in OECD countries. This growth has been driven mostly through collaborations involving partners at institutions in developed countries.
Overall, the level of inter-regional collaborations in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased over the past decade, and this has been largely driven by collaborations involving OECD countries. On the other hand, in order for the regions to further develop, there needs to be a greater focus on Africa-centric collaboration.
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December - Dr. Metrics must be available to be selected for all relevant peers. The generation and use of metrics should be automated and scalable. Quantitative information provided by metrics must be complemented by qualitative evidence to ensure the most complete and accurate input to answer a question.
The combination of multiple metrics gives the most reliable quantitative input. Disciplinary and other characteristics that affect metrics, but that do not indicate different levels of performance, must be taken into account. Metrics should be carefully selected to ensure that they are appropriate to the question being asked. Those in the research community who apply metrics in their day-to-day work, and who are themselves evaluated through their use, should ideally define the set of metrics to be used. It is highly desirable that this same community, or those empowered by the community on their behalf, maintains the metric definitions.
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