Do altmetrics assess societal impact in the same way as case studies? An empirical analysis testing the convergent validity of altmetrics based on data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Authors : Lutz Bornmann, Robin Haunschild, Jonathan Adams

Altmetrics have been proposed as a way to assess the societal impact of research. Although altmetrics are already in use as impact or attention metrics in different contexts, it is still not clear whether they really capture or reflect societal impact.

This study is based on altmetrics, citation counts, research output and case study data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF), and peers’ REF assessments of research output and societal impact. We investigated the convergent validity of altmetrics by using two REF datasets: publications submitted as research output (PRO) to the REF and publications referenced in case studies (PCS).

Case studies, which are intended to demonstrate societal impact, should cite the most relevant research papers. We used the MHq’ indicator for assessing impact – an indicator which has been introduced for count data with many zeros.

The results of the first part of the analysis show that news media as well as mentions on Facebook, in blogs, in Wikipedia, and in policy-related documents have higher MHq’ values for PCS than for PRO.

Thus, the altmetric indicators seem to have convergent validity for these data. In the second part of the analysis, altmetrics have been correlated with REF reviewers’ average scores on PCS. The negative or close to zero correlations question the convergent validity of altmetrics in that context.

We suggest that they may capture a different aspect of societal impact (which can be called unknown attention) to that seen by reviewers (who are interested in the causal link between research and action in society).


Health science libraries in Sweden: new directions, expanding roles

Authors : Lotta Haglund, Annikki Roos, Petra Wallgren-Björk

Librarians in Sweden are facing huge challenges in meeting the demands of their organisations and users. This article looks at four key areas: coping with open science/open access initiatives; increasing demands from researchers for support doing systematic reviews; understanding user experiences in Swedish health science libraries; and the consequences of expanding roles for recruitment and continuing professional development.

With regard to changing roles, there is an increasing shift from the generalist towards the expert role. The authors raise the issue as to how to prepare those new to the profession to the changing environment of health science libraries.

URL : Health science libraries in Sweden: new directions, expanding roles


Understanding Open Knowledge in China: A Chinese Approach to Openness?

Authors: Lucy Montgomery, Xiang Ren

This paper examines the development of open knowledge in China through two case studies: the development of Chinese open access (OA) journals, and national-level OA repositories.

Open access and open knowledge are emerging as a site of both grass-roots activism, and top-down intervention in the practices of scholarship and scholarly publishing in China. Although the language, vision and strategies of the global open knowledge movement are undoubtedly present, so too are the messy realities of open access and open knowledge innovation in a local context.

In attempting to position open access developments in China within a diverse and contested global landscape of open knowledge innovation we draw on Moore’s (2017) conception of open access as a boundary object: an object that is understood differently within individual communities but which maintains enough structure to be understood between communities (Moore 2017; Star and Griesemer 1989).

Viewed as a boundary object, the concept of open knowledge is making it possible for China to engage with the global open knowledge movement, as a beneficiary of the innovation of others, and as an open knowledge innovator in its own right.

URL : Understanding Open Knowledge in China: A Chinese Approach to Openness?


Disentangling Gold Open Access

Authors : Daniel Torres-Salinas, Nicolas Robinson-Garcia, Henk F. Moed

This chapter focuses on the analysis of current publication trends in gold Open Access (OA). The purpose of the chapter is to develop a full understanding on country patterns, OA journals characteristics and citation differences between gold OA and non-gold OA publications.

For this, we will first review current literature regarding Open Access and its relation with its so-called citation advantage. Starting with a chronological perspective we will describe its development, how different countries are promoting OA publishing, and its effects on the journal publishing industry.

We will deepen the analysis by investigating the research output produced by different units of analysis. First, we will focus on the production of countries with a special emphasis on citation and disciplinary differences. A point of interest will be identification of national idiosyncrasies and the relation between OA publication and research of local interest.

This will lead to our second unit of analysis, OA journals indexed in Web of Science. Here we will deepen on journals characteristics and publisher types to clearly identify factors which may affect citation differences between OA and traditional journals which may not necessarily be derived from the OA factor.

Gold OA publishing is being encouraged in many countries as opposed to Green OA. This chapter aims at fully understanding how it affects researchers’ publication patterns and whether it ensures an alleged citation advantage as opposed to non-gold OA publications.


The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access

Authors : Julie Baldwin, Stephen Pinfield

Whilst take-up of open access (OA) in the UK is growing rapidly due partly to a number of funder mandates, managing the complexities of balancing compliance with these mandates against restrictive publisher policies and ingrained academic priorities, has resulted in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) often struggling with confused researchers, complex workflows, and rising costs.

In order to try to address this situation, the UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL) was formulated to bypass the root causes of many of these challenges by implementing a licensing mechanism for multiple-mandate compliance in one single policy.

This is the first empirical study to focus on the genesis of the UK-SCL and how its implementation has been conceived thus far. A qualitative research method was used, taking the form of 14 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders from the initiative across the UK.

The results indicate that those working within UK HEIs are concerned with the complexity of the current OA policy landscape and are frustrated with the inertia within the current system, which has resulted in higher costs, further publisher restrictions, and has not addressed the underlying tensions in academic culture.

The UK-SCL is seen by its initiators as a way to achieve further transition towards OA and take back some element of control of the content produced at their institutions.

The study concludes by modelling the ways in which the UK-SCL is intended to impact relationships between key stakeholders, and discussing possible implementation futures.

URL : The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access

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The weakest link – workflows in open access agreements: the experience of the Vienna University Library and recommendations for future negotiations

Authors : Rita Pinhasi, Guido Blechl, Brigitte Kromp, Bernhard Schubert

In recent years open access (OA) publishing agreements have left a lasting impact on several aspects of the research life cycle, and on the manner in which institutions work with publishers and researchers to support the transition to OA.

Apart from the immediate financial implications, one significant challenge libraries are facing is the sub-optimal level of workflow infrastructure that could determine the success or failure of otherwise innovative approaches.

This article will examine the Vienna University Library’s hands-on experience with OA agreements and the implementation of relevant workflows. It will describe existing workflows, review the benefits of the various systems in place and identify areas for improvement.

The paper will also propose items for discussion for organizations when negotiating OA agreements with publishers and will highlight potential pitfalls to be avoided.

URL : The weakest link – workflows in open access agreements: the experience of the Vienna University Library and recommendations for future negotiations


Scholarship as an Open Conversation: Utilizing Open Peer Review in Information Literacy Instruction

Author : Emily Ford

This article explores the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy’s frame, Scholarship as a Conversation. This frame asserts that information literate students have the disposition, skills, and knowledge to recognize and participate in disciplinary scholarly conversations.

By investigating the peer-review process as part of scholarly conversations, this article provides a brief literature review on peer review in information literacy instruction, and argues that by using open peer review (OPR) models for teaching, library workers can allow students to gain a deeper understanding of scholarly conversations.

OPR affords students the ability to begin dismantling the systemic oppression that blinded peer review and the traditional scholarly publishing system reinforce. Finally, the article offers an example classroom activity using OPR to help students enter scholarly conversations, and recognize power and oppression in scholarly publishing.