Saturday, 27 September 2008

Social networking for researchers

Social networking software designed for researchers bundles together Web 2.0 functionality to provide directory services, resource sharing, support for group working and self archiving. It's hard to define this type of software as a category because of the diversity of the offerings. Some like ResearchGATE offer a full service, some are free to register others like MyNetResaerch charge after a free trial. A few have the backing of larger publishing concerns like ResearchID (Thomson/Reuters) and Nature Network (Nature Publishing Group).'s graphical interface is its unique selling point and quite fun to use - although as the structure of the institution is created by contributors it can be a little misleading. Most resources appeal to scientists many explicitly, like Labmeeting and ResearchGATE, others by default seem to be mostly used by scientists. If ResearchID and, which are essentially powerful list/publication management tools, are included then perhaps we should include 2collab (Elsevier) in the list. A recent survey received by this blogger suggests that 2collab is looking to move into this area.


List of social networking sites for research

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

British Library Higher Education e-News

The September Issue is now out. The British Library are offering a number of training opportunities for postgraduate researchers - next one on Social Sciences is already booked up. There is also news of a new venture Vitae, providing support for UK researchers.