Science and Facebook: the same popularity law!

Authors : Zoltán Néda, Levente Varga, Tamás S. Biró

The distribution of scientific citations for publications selected with different rules (author, topic, institution, country, journal, etc.) collapse on a single curve if one plots the citations relative to their mean value.

We find that the distribution of shares for the Facebook posts re-scale in the same manner to the very same curve with scientific citations. This finding suggests that citations are subjected to the same growth mechanism with Facebook popularity measures, being influenced by a statistically similar social environment and selection mechanism.

In a simple master-equation approach the exponential growth of the number of publications and a preferential selection mechanism leads to a Tsallis-Pareto distribution offering an excellent description for the observed statistics.

Based on our model and on the data derived from PubMed we predict that according to the present trend the average citations per scientific publications exponentially relaxes to about 4.


Does Online Access Promote Research in Developing Countries? Empirical Evidence from Article-Level Data

Authors : Frank Mueller-Langer, Marc Scheufen, Patrick Waelbroeck

Universities in developing countries have rarely been able to subscribe to academic journals in the past. The “Online Access to Research in the Environment” initiative (OARE) provides institutions in developing countries with free online access to more than 5,700 environmental science journals.

Here we analyze the effect of OARE registration on scientific output by research institutions in five developing countries. We apply a difference-in-difference estimation method using panel data for 18,955 journal articles from 798 research institutions.

We find that online access via OARE increases publication output by at least 43% while lower-ranked institutions located in remote areas benefit less. These results are robust when we apply instrumental variables to account for the information diffusion process and a Bayesian estimation method to control for self-selection into the initiative.


Research impact: a narrative review

Authors : Trisha Greenhalgh, James Raftery, Steve Hanney, Matthew Glover

Impact occurs when research generates benefits (health, economic, cultural) in addition to building the academic knowledge base. Its mechanisms are complex and reflect the multiple ways in which knowledge is generated and utilised.

Much progress has been made in measuring both the outcomes of research and the processes and activities through which these are achieved, though the measurement of impact is not without its critics.

We review the strengths and limitations of six established approaches (Payback, Research Impact Framework, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, monetisation, societal impact assessment, UK Research Excellence Framework) plus recently developed and largely untested ones (including metrics and electronic databases).

We conclude that (1) different approaches to impact assessment are appropriate in different circumstances; (2) the most robust and sophisticated approaches are labour-intensive and not always feasible or affordable; (3) whilst most metrics tend to capture direct and proximate impacts, more indirect and diffuse elements of the research-impact link can and should be measured; and (4) research on research impact is a rapidly developing field with new methodologies on the horizon.

URL : Research impact: a narrative review

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Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) of “Nature” Journal

Author : Chintha Nagabhushanam

The main aim of scientific research is to systematically generate valid data which is measurable, reproducible, and testable, contributing to the existing knowledge about the subject.

This paper explains the Altmetrics of Nature Journal that is a summation of the impact of all articles in a journal based on citations. Article-level metrics measured the impact of individual articles, including usage (e.g., pageviews, downloads), citations, and social metrics like Twitter, Facebook and blogs, of non-duplicate online mentions.

Paper discuss article-level metrics from web site and analyses the data accordingly.

URL : Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) of “Nature” Journal

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Revisiting an open access monograph experiment: measuring citations and tweets 5 years later

Author : Ronald Snijder

An experiment run in 2009 could not assess whether making monographs available in open access enhanced scholarly impact. This paper revisits the experiment, drawing on additional citation data and tweets. It attempts to answer the following research question: does open access have a positive influence on the number of citations and tweets a monograph receives, taking into account the influence of scholarly field and language?

The correlation between monograph citations and tweets is also investigated. The number of citations and tweets measured in 2014 reveal a slight open access advantage, but the influence of language or subject should also be taken into account. However, Twitter usage and citation behaviour hardly overlap.

URL : Revisiting an open access monograph experiment

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Impact de l’Open Access sur les citations : une étude de cas

Auteurs/Authors : Frédérique Bordignon, Mathieu Andro

De multiples études, dans la littérature internationale, ont cherché à évaluer l’impact de l’Open Access sur le taux de citation des articles scientifiques. La présente étude, en langue française, reste limitée aux publications 2010 de l’Ecole des Ponts.

Elle offre néanmoins un état de l’art des précédentes études sur le sujet à un lectorat de professionnels francophones et a pour originalité de mesurer le nombre moyen de citations par mois, avant et après “libération” Open Access des articles et d’éviter ainsi la plupart des biais qui peuvent être rencontrés dans ce type de démarche.

En plus de confirmer, comme beaucoup d’autres l’ont fait auparavant, un avantage net de l’Open Access sur le taux de citation en informatique, sciences de la terre et de l’univers, ingénierie, sciences environnementales, mathématiques, physique et astronomie, elle montre aussi qu’une « libération » précoce peut avoir un impact plus favorable qu’une « libération » tardive dans certains champs disciplinaires, comme les mathématiques et physique/astronomie.

URL : Impact de l’Open Access sur les citations : une étude de cas

Measuring Scientific Impact Beyond Citation Counts

Authors : Robert M. Patton, Christopher G. Stahl, Jack C. Wells

The measurement of scientific progress remains a significant challenge exasperated by the use of multiple different types of metrics that are often incorrectly used, overused, or even explicitly abused.

Several metrics such as h-index or journal impact factor (JIF) are often used as a means to assess whether an author, article, or journal creates an « impact » on science. Unfortunately, external forces can be used to manipulate these metrics thereby diluting the value of their intended, original purpose.

This work highlights these issues and the need to more clearly define « impact » as well as emphasize the need for better metrics that leverage full content analysis of publications.