Friday, 6 February 2009

Archival Sound Recordings – Recording of the Month competition

Archival Sound Recordings is an online audio resource which makes selections of music, spoken word and environmental sounds from the British Library Sound Archive available online. Recordings are available for playback and download to staff and students in UK higher and further education.

To enter the Recording of the Month competition, simply log in to the website using your Athens password, pick a favourite recording, write up to 50 words about why you love it, and send it to [ ].

The prize is a £20 book token and winners are picked monthly.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Why We Cite

Bibliometrics and its sub disciplines citation analysis and citation behaviour (or why we cite) used to be a fairly obscure branch of academic activity. However, with the use of citation data to evaluate research in national research assessment exercises this topic has relevance to all active researchers.

Despite many decades of research no systematic explanation of citation behaviour has emerged, beyond the fact that motivations for citing are a complex mixture of local context, cultural and psychological factors. There does seem to be a consensus that aggregated citation statistics do identify significant contributions to any discipline (Bornmann and Daniel 2008).

The recent REF consultation exercise indicated concerns about techniques researchers could use to influence citation patterns - reported in the THES (Corbyn 2008). For example, citation clubs, groups of researchers working together to inflate citation counts by citing each others work or excessive self citation - which will be eliminated from the REF. These concerns may be too negative. For a more positive view on why we cite, Research Trends - a bi-monthly newsletter from Scopus - runs a regular feature on why elite researchers are cited or cite others.

The focus on citations may also have distorting effects on publication and citation behaviour. Researchers increasingly focusing on highly cited journal titles, senior researchers publishing less but in 'better' journals, a reluctance to co-author with junior researchers papers that are less likely to have a citation impact and publishing review articles which are thought to be more highly cited.


Bornmann, L. & Daniel, L-D., 2008. What do citation counts measure? A review of studies on citing behavior. Journal of Documentation. 64 (1), 45-80. Available from: [Accessed: 05 February 2009].

Corbyn, Z., 2008. Researchers may play dirty to beat REF. Times Higher Education. 7 February 2008. Available from: [Accessed 05 February 2009].

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

News from SCOPUS

  • In April 2009 1,450 journals in Arts and Humanities core areas such as history, literature and visual arts will be added to Scopus. Many countries will be better represented as a result of these added titles and researchers will have enhanced access to international Arts and Humanities content. Journal subjects include literature and literary theory (30% of new titles), general arts and humanities (22%), history (17%), visual/performing arts (16%), among others.

  • SCOPUS has been chosen by the Australian Research Council (ARC) for its Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative. The ERA initiative will assess research quality within Australia's higher education institutions using a combination of indicators and expert review by committees comprised of experienced, internationally-recognized experts. Scopus Custom Data will be the sole provider used to assess the country’s higher education research output for the ERA’s first group of science disciplines (Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences (PCE)) in 41 Higher Education Providers (HEPs): Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences (PCE). The ERA process is similar to the planned REF, currently HEFCE is running a pilot exercise using data provided Thomson Reuters/Evidence.

Keeping up to date with the REF

Now that the RAE is published, with a further announcement due in March on the actual allocation of money for research, thoughts are turning to the REF. Bournemouth University was one of 22 Universities to take part in the REF Pilot exercise and one of five Case Studies commissioned by JISC to look specifically at the issues of data collection. Bournemouth was chosen because of interest in the development of BURO. Both the REF Pilot website and the REF Home Website have links to key documents and reports.

The REF has been in the news most recently because of the takeover of Evidence by Thomson Reuters, who also own one of the key data sources for analysing the pilot data the WOS ISI Citation Indexes. Evidence is managing the REF pilot on behalf of HEFCE. Questions about a conflict of interest were raised by THES and denied by Evidence. However, Evidence will now only use data from WOS according the the HEFCE website. The other possible data source is Elsevier's SCOPUS.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Research Information Network (RIN) Factsheet - Making sense of research funding in UK higher education

The Making sense of research funding in UK higher education guide from RIN, explains the "Haldane Principle", dual funding and the TRAC system and much more in four pages. A very good summary.