Ethnic Diversity Increases Scientific Impact

Authors : Bedoor K AlShebli, Talal Rahwan, Wei Lee Woon

Inspired by the numerous social and economic benefits of diversity, we analyze over 9 million papers and 6 million scientists spanning 24 fields of study, to understand the relationship between research impact and five types of diversity, reflecting (i) ethnicity, (ii) discipline, (iii) gender, (iv) affiliation and (v) academic age.

For each type, we study group diversity (i.e., the heterogeneity of a paper’s set of authors) and individual diversity (i.e., the heterogeneity of a scientist’s entire set of collaborators). Remarkably, of all the types considered, we find that ethnic diversity is the strongest predictor of a field’s scientific impact (r is 0.77 and 0.55 for group and individual ethnic diversity, respectively).

Moreover, to isolate the effect of ethnic diversity from other confounding factors, we analyze a baseline model in which author ethnicities are randomized while preserving all other characteristics.

We find that the relation between ethnic diversity and impact is stronger in the real data compared to the randomized baseline model, regardless of publication year, number of authors per paper, and number of collaborators per scientist.

Finally, we use coarsened exact matching to infer causality, whereby the scientific impact of diverse papers and scientists are compared against closely matched control groups. In keeping with the other results, we find that ethnic diversity consistently leads to higher scientific impact.


Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals

Authors : Alison Boba, Jill Emery

Utilizing the Project COUNTER Release 4 JR1-GOA report, two librarians explore these data in comparison to journal package subscriptions represented via the JR1 reports. This paper outlines the methodology and study undertaken at the Portland State University Library and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Library using these reports for the first time.

The initial outcomes of the study are provided in various Tables for 2014 and 2015. The intent of the study was to provide both institutions with a baseline from which to do further study. In addition, some ideas are given for how these reports can be used in vendor negotiations going forward.

URL : Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals


Who needs access to research? Exploring the societal impact of open access

Author : ElHassan ElSabry

Studies about open access (OA) have predominantly focused it impact on communication within the scholarly community. For example, many studies have been published on what is called the “Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA)”.

On the other hand, implications of OA in non-academic contexts (e.g. medical practice, policymaking, patient advocacy and citizen science) have been the subject of and the basis for a lot of the advocacy work and many funding agencies’ OA policies, but not so much the subject of original research studies.

To date, this study is the first attempt to collect and synthesize the available evidence on the societal impact of open access. It further builds on this evidence base by introducing a typology of the various science-society interfaces where demand for access to research potentially exists.

The proposed scheme is anticipated to provide guidance for future research on the issue of OA’s societal impact. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of non-academic usage of research on the open access debate, especially on the question of who should bear the cost of scholarly publishing.


How quickly do publications get read? The evolution of Mendeley reader counts for new articles

Authors : Nabeil Maflahi, Mike Thelwall

Within science, citation counts are widely used to estimate research impact but publication delays mean that they are not useful for recent research. This gap can be filled by Mendeley reader counts, which are valuable early impact indicators for academic articles because they appear before citations and correlate strongly with them.

Nevertheless, it is not known how Mendeley readership counts accumulate within the year of publication, and so it is unclear how soon they can be used. In response, this paper reports a longitudinal weekly study of the Mendeley readers of articles in six library and information science journals from 2016.

The results suggest that Mendeley readers accrue from when articles are first available online and continue to steadily build. For journals with large publication delays, articles can already have substantial numbers of readers by their publication date.

Thus, Mendeley reader counts may even be useful as early impact indicators for articles before they have been officially published in a journal issue. If field normalised indicators are needed, then these can be generated when journal issues are published using the online first date.



Prevalence and citation advantage of gold open access in the subject areas of the Scopus database

Authors : Pablo Dorta-González, Yolanda Santana-Jiménez

The potential benefit of open access (OA) in relation to citation impact has been discussed in the literature in depth. The methodology used to test the OA citation advantage includes comparing OA vs. non-OA journal impact factors and citations of OA versus non-OA articles published in the same non-OA journals.

However, one problem with many studies is that they are small -restricted to a discipline or set of journals-. Moreover, conclusions are not entirely consistent among research areas and ‘early view’ and ‘selection bias’ have been suggested as possible explications. In the present paper, an analysis of gold OA from across all areas of research -the 27 subject areas of the Scopus database- is realized.

As a novel contribution, this paper takes a journal-level approach to assessing the OA citation advantage, whereas many others take a paper-level approach. Data were obtained from Scimago Lab, sorted using Scopus database, and tagged as OA/non-OA using the DOAJ list.

Jointly with the OA citation advantage, the OA prevalence as well as the differences between access types (OA vs. non-OA) in production and referencing are tested. A total of 3,737 OA journals (16.8%) and 18,485 non-OA journals (83.2%) published in 2015 are considered. As the main conclusion, there is no generalizable gold OA citation advantage at journal level.


Scientist impact factor (SIF): a new metric for improving scientists’ evaluation?

Authors : Giuseppe Lippi, Camilla Mattiuzzi


The publication of scientific research is the mainstay for knowledge dissemination, but is also an essential criterion of scientists’ evaluation for recruiting funds and career progression.

Although the most widespread approach for evaluating scientists is currently based on the H-index, the total impact factor (IF) and the overall number of citations, these metrics are plagued by some well-known drawbacks. Therefore, with the aim to improve the process of scientists’ evaluation, we developed a new and potentially useful indicator of recent scientific output.


The new metric scientist impact factor (SIF) was calculated as all citations of articles published in the two years following the publication year of the articles, divided by the overall number of articles published in that year. The metrics was then tested by analyzing data of the 40 top scientists of the local University.


No correlation was found between SIF and H-index (r=0.15; P=0.367) or 2 years H-index (r=−0.01; P=0.933), whereas the H-Index and 2 years H-index values were found to be highly correlated (r=0.57; P<0.001). A highly significant correlation was also observed between the articles published in one year and the total number of citations to these articles in the two following years (r=0.62; P<0.001).


According to our data, the SIF may be a useful measure to complement current metrics for evaluating scientific output. Its use may be especially helpful for young scientists, wherein the SIF reflects the scientific output over the past two years thus increasing their chances to apply to and obtain competitive funding.



Claims About Benefits of Open Access to Society (Beyond Academia)

Author : ElHassan ElSabry

This study tries to systematically identify claims about societal benefits of Open Access by analyzing different documents written by Open Access supporters. Three types of documents are used: key declarations and statements in support of Open Access, Open Access policies issued by public funding agencies and journal editorials announcing the adoption of Open Access.

Analysis shows these three types emphasize different benefits for Open Access as they address different audience. There is strong support of the idea that Open Access has benefits to different groups of people outside side the university/credentialed research institutes.

It is not clear how much evidence is available to support these claims, but identifying them would suggest new stakeholders to involve in the conversation and perhaps also inform the ongoing debate about who should bear the cost of Open Access.

URL : Claims About Benefits of Open Access to Society (Beyond Academia)

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