Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Research Excellence Framework - Technical Reports

HEFCE has just published two technical reports on the process for the Research Excellence Framework [REF], Appraisal of Citation Data Sources and Development of Bibliometric Indicators of Research Quality.

Appraisal of Citation Data Sources is a detailed comparison of SCOPUS and ISI Web of Knowlwdge (WOK). The main conclusion, perhaps not surprisingly, is that the two sources are broadly comparable. There are a number of differences, however,

  • SCOPUS has a better coverage of conference proceedings. The Web of Knowledge, however, has plans to integrate a separate database, ISI Proceedings, with the Web of Knowledge. Data on conference proceedings will for part of the REF process.

  • SCOPUS does not include 100% of the contents of all journal titles, for example book reviews and editorials. The coverage of the Web of Knowledge is comprehensive for the titles it covers.

  • SCOPUS and Web of Knowledge have different selection criteria. SCOPUS covering a wider range of titles, WOK uses citation impact as a criteria for inclusion.

  • There are slight differences in the extent of subject covereage.

  • There are also differences in data structure. SCOPUS has worked on reducing ambiguity in identifying authors and their affiliations. SCOPUS also preserves in the citation linking all the information from cited works, WOK uses the first author, abreiviated title, volume, number and page. This makes the SCOPUS citation search easier to use even if it is not as comprehensive as WOK.

The report on Development of Bibliometric Indicators of Research Quality found a general correlation between RAE (2001) ratings and ciation impact with some subject variations. Important because the forthcoming REF will be based on citation analysis rather than peer review. It also suggests defining subjects by groups of journal titles rather that subject units.


Aricle on reports in the Times Higher

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