Do researchers know what the h-index is? And how do they estimate its importance?

Authors : Pantea Kamrani, Isabelle Dorsch, Wolfgang G. Stock

The h-index is a widely used scientometric indicator on the researcher level working with a simple combination of publication and citation counts. In this article, we pursue two goals, namely the collection of empirical data about researchers’ personal estimations of the importance of the h-index for themselves as well as for their academic disciplines, and on the researchers’ concrete knowledge on the h-index and the way of its calculation.

We worked with an online survey (including a knowledge test on the calculation of the h-index), which was finished by 1081 German university professors. We distinguished between the results for all participants, and, additionally, the results by gender, generation, and field of knowledge.

We found a clear binary division between the academic knowledge fields: For the sciences and medicine the h-index is important for the researchers themselves and for their disciplines, while for the humanities and social sciences, economics, and law the h-index is considerably less important.

Two fifths of the professors do not know details on the h-index or wrongly deem to know what the h-index is and failed our test. The researchers’ knowledge on the h-index is much smaller in the academic branches of the humanities and the social sciences.

As the h-index is important for many researchers and as not all researchers are very knowledgeable about this author-specific indicator, it seems to be necessary to make researchers more aware of scholarly metrics literacy.

URL : Do researchers know what the h-index is? And how do they estimate its importance?


TeamTree analysis: A new approach to evaluate scientific production

Author : Frank W. Pfrieger

Advances in science and technology depend on the work of research teams and the publication of results through peer-reviewed articles representing a growing socio-economic resource. Current methods to mine the scientific literature regarding a field of interest focus on content, but the workforce credited by authorship remains largely unexplored.

Notably, appropriate measures of scientific production are debated. Here, a new bibliometric approach named TeamTree analysis is introduced that visualizes the development and composition of the workforce driving a field.

A new citation-independent measure that scales with the H index estimates impact based on publication record, genealogical ties and collaborative connections.

This author-centered approach complements existing tools to mine the scientific literature and to evaluate research across disciplines.

URL : TeamTree analysis: A new approach to evaluate scientific production


Bringing Policymakers to Science Through Communication: A Perspective From Latin America

Authors : Marta Pulido-Salgado, Fátima Antonethe Castaneda Mena

Scientific knowledge should be shared beyond academic circles in order to promote science in policymaking. Science communication increases the understanding of how the natural world works and the capacity to make informed decisions.

However, not every researcher has the ability to master the art of communicating, and even less in a clear, concise, and easy to understand language that society representatives appreciate.

Within the huge and extraordinarily diverse Latin American region, science communication has been going on for at least 200 years, when the first science stories appeared in the newspapers, as well as the first science museums and botanical gardens were founded.

Nevertheless, resources are limited, and notably time, which researchers spend mostly in mentoring, ensuring funding, publication of their results and laboratory work, while science journalists are an endangered species.

This perspective article aims at providing some recommendations to build bridges between science and decision-making parties through communication, by exploring how Latin American diplomats and policymakers engage with scientific knowledge.

URL : Bringing Policymakers to Science Through Communication: A Perspective From Latin America


Characteristics of Spanish citizen participation practices in science

Authors : Carolina Llorente, Gema Revuelta, Mar Carrió

A new regime of science production is emerging from the involvement of non-scientists. The present study aims to improve understanding of this phenomenon with an analysis of 16 interviews with Spanish coordinators of participatory science practices.

The results indicate a majority of strategic and captive publics and point to communication as a key tool for the development of successful practices.

Five key elements of the degree of integration required to develop a citizen participation in science practice were analysed: derived outputs, level of participant contribution, participation assessment, practice replicability, and participant and facilitator training. Proposals for strategies to remove barriers to citizen participation are the study’s principal contribution.

URL : Characteristics of Spanish citizen participation practices in science


Science communicators intimidated: researchers’ freedom of expression and the rise of authoritarian populism

Authors : Esa Valiverronen, Sampsa Saikkonen

In this article, we explore scientists’ freedom of expression in the context of authoritarian populism. Our particular case for this analysis is Finland, where the right-wing populist Finns Party entered the government for the first time in 2015.

More recently, after leaving the government in 2017, the party has been the most popular party in opinion polls in 2021. We illustrate the current threats to Finnish researchers’ freedom of expression using their responses on three surveys, made in 2015, 2017 and 2019. We focus on politically motivated disparagement of scientists and experts, and the scientists’ experiences with online hate and aggressive feedback.

Further, we relate these findings to the recent studies on authoritarian populism and science-related populism. We argue that this development may affect researchers’ readiness to communicate their research and expertise in public.

URL : Science communicators intimidated: researchers’ freedom of expression and the rise of authoritarian populism


Article Processing Charges based publications: to which extent the price explains scientific impact?

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, David Sapinho

The present study aims to analyze relationship between Citations Normalized Score (NCS) of scientific publications and Article Processing Charges (APCs) amounts of Gold Open access publications.

To do so, we use APCs information provided by OpenAPC database and citations scores of publications in the Web of Science database (WoS). Database covers the period from 2006 to 2019 with 83,752 articles published in 4751 journals belonging to 267 distinct publishers.

Results show that contrary to this belief, paying dearly does not necessarily increase the impact of publications. First, large publishers with high impact are not the most expensive.

Second, publishers with the highest APCs are not necessarily the best in terms of impact. Correlation between APCs and impact is moderate. Otherwise, in the econometric analysis we have shown that publication quality is strongly determined by journal quality in which it is published. International collaboration also plays an important role in citations score.