Thursday, 21 February 2008

Alternatives to Citation Analysis

Some form of citation analysis is likely to inform the next iteration of the Research Assessment Exercise, the Research Excellence Framework. The debate about what form this will take raises questions about alternatives.

Web Citation Index [WCI] - currently being developed by Thompson ISI applies the principles of citation analysis to Subject and Institutional Repositories. It will apply a rigorous selection process focusing on significant research repositories.

Another approach looks at measuring usage data. This presents problems of what to count and consistency of implementation across data providers. The COUNTER Project has agreed Codes of Practice with data providers for standard reports on journal usage and the use of books and reference works. The Messur Project is exploring innovative approaches to using usage data to generate new metrics,

Data provided by institutional repositories provides opportunities to measure usage data at the institutional level. This might indicate which research is being most accessed externally -and by tracking access - who is using it. Aggregating data across subjects and sectors could enable new benchmarks to measure research impacts.

Underpinning all these endevors is active participation in institutional repositories like BURO.

International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences [IESBS]

We now have electronic access to the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences [IESBS]. There is also a link on the Databases A to Z.

IESBS is the most comprehensive and authoritative scholarly encyclopedia for the Social Sciences, published only three times, 1930-1935, 1968 and the current edition 2002. The electronic edition, delivered via the ScienceDirect interface, enables 24/7 networked access and of course improved searching. Articles written by leading experts in the field summarise recent research and theory. IESBS contains over 4000 articles in 39 subject areas.

Why might you use this as a research tool?

  • Learn from the experts. It is scholarly which means articles are written by experts, are comprehensive and well referenced. IESBS is a appropriate resource for academic assignments and dissertations.

  • Efficient researching. Articles summarise current theory and research. It has the benefit of informing you about topics quickly and because articles are cross referenced, identifying related areas. It gives an overview or 'helicopter view'.

  • Theories and writers. For those doing research for dissertations IESBS is an excellent source to discover relevant theory, key writers and significant publications. In addition IESBS provides accessible articles on areas important but peripheral to your main research area, where a short article may provide sufficient information.


Blackwells Reference Online. Access from the Databases A-Z.
Introduction to the IESBS gives some idea of the scope and the subjects included.
New Library Resources Blog

Endnote and Microsoft Windows Vista Compatibility

EndNote X1 is compatible with Windows Vista, however there are some challenges with earlier versions. You will find more information here.


EndNote Product Information Page
BU Library Endnote Page

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The Hirtsch [h] Index

The h-Index is a measure of the 'quality' of academic output. The h-index plots the distribution of citations cross the output of a given researcher. To calculate your h index you need to know how many citations each of your published outputs has accrued. This can be worked out using the Web of Knowledge ISI Citation Index or Google Scholar. Results will vary depending on the source of data. List your publications in descending order of the number of citations. The point at which the number of citations is less than the number of publications gives the h index. For example, if the first article has 20 citations, the second 18, the third 10, the fourth 5, and the fifth 3 your h index is 4.

The h-index has limitations and is not favoured for a future iteration of the RAE/REF “this is unlikely to prove effective for HEFCE purpose because it works better for high output-high impact researchers and it produces only a single metric with low information content. It is not applicable th the general body of researchers.” (Universities UK 2007)

A number of academic communities, especially in the sciences have produced lists ranking scientists by their h-index. These include living Chemists, Computer Scientists and even Information Scientists.


Article in wikipedia on the h-index


Universities UK, 2007.The use of bibliometrics to measure research quality in the UK higher education institutions. London: evidence/Universities UK. Available from: [Accessed 21 February 2008].