Measuring the impact of special collections and archives in the digital age: opportunities and challenges

Author : Christina Kamposiori

This paper is based on the outcome of a recent Research Libraries UK (RLUK) project that aimed to explore and understand the approaches employed by RLUK members for capturing and measuring the impact of activities based on special collections and archives.

In today’s constantly evolving information and scholarly environment, educational and cultural institutions, such as research libraries, are faced with a pressing demand to assess the value of their services and evidence their impact.

As part of our goal to develop a better understanding of how research libraries respond to this demand, we collected and analysed case-study and survey data from across the RLUK membership that show the practices and methods of research libraries for increasing and assessing the impact of their collections and related services.

As our results showed, research libraries increasingly employ audience-focused strategies and take advantage of the new possibilities offered by the digital age to enhance access to collections, reach a range of audience groups and achieve greater impact.

However, a number of issues, such as the lack of structured methodologies to capture and evaluate the full reach of digital collections and resources or the long-term impact of collections, can make the process of measuring and evidencing value a challenging task for institutions.

In this paper, we will present some of the key findings showing the pathways to impact followed by special collection and archive professionals in the UK and Ireland and reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the digital era presents for increasing and measuring this impact.

URL : Measuring the impact of special collections and archives in the digital age: opportunities and challenges


The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age


Authors : George A. Lozano, Vincent Lariviere, Yves Gingras

Historically, papers have been physically bound to the journal in which they were published but in the electronic age papers are available individually, no longer tied to their respective journals. Hence, papers now can be read and cited based on their own merits, independently of the journal’s physical availability, reputation, or Impact Factor.

We compare the strength of the relationship between journals’ Impact Factors and the actual citations received by their respective papers from 1902 to 2009. Throughout most of the 20th century, papers’ citation rates were increasingly linked to their respective journals’ Impact Factors.

However, since 1990, the advent of the digital age, the strength of the relation between Impact Factors and paper citations has been decreasing. This decrease began sooner in physics, a field that was quicker to make the transition into the electronic domain.

Furthermore, since 1990, the proportion of highly cited papers coming from highly cited journals has been decreasing, and accordingly, the proportion of highly cited papers not coming from highly cited journals has also been increasing.

Should this pattern continue, it might bring an end to the use of the Impact Factor as a way to evaluate the quality of journals, papers and researchers.”


The visibility of Wikipedia in scholarly publications …

The visibility of Wikipedia in scholarly publications :

“Publications in the Institute of Scientific Information’s (ISI, currently Thomson Reuters) Web of Science (WoS) and Elsevier’s Scopus databases were utilized to collect data about Wikipedia research and citations to Wikipedia. The growth of publications on Wikipedia research, the most active researchers, their associated institutions, academic fields and their geographic distribution are treated in this paper. The impact and influence of Wikipedia were identified, utilizing cited work found in (WoS) and Scopus. Additionally, leading authors, affiliated institutions, countries, academic fields, and publications that frequently cite Wikipedia are identified.”


The impact and use of TEEAL The Essential…

The impact and use of TEEAL (The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library) on researchers of agriculture :

“The primary target of TEEAL in Ahmadu Bello University(ABU) is the researcher at the faculty of Agriculture and the institute for Agriculture research. After years of its introduction, an evaluation of its impact has become necessary. Thus five research questions were drawn for that purpose. They are: (1), Are you aware of the TEEAL cd Rom database in this institution? (2), Is TEEAL solution to the problem of qualitative research in your field? (3), Has TEEAL cd Rom database enabled you access to world’s scholarly publishing? (4), What impact has the full text of TEEAL made on your research work? (5), Is TEEAL cd Rom database user friendly? (6), What is your assessment of TEEAL? These questions were put in form of a questionnaire survey supplemented by one interview to find the required information. From the response some analyses were made, some recommendations were put forward, and conclusions drawn.”


Citation Advantage of Open Access Legal Scholarship …

Citation Advantage of Open Access Legal Scholarship :

“To date, there have been no studies focusing exclusively on the impact of open access on legal scholarship. We examine open access articles from three journals at the University of Georgia School of Law and confirm that legal scholarship freely available via open access improves an article’s research impact. Open access legal scholarship – which today appears to account for almost half of the output of law faculties – can expect to receive 50% more citations than non-open access writings of similar age from the same venue.”


Le JCR facteur d’impact (IF) et le SCImago Journal Rank Indicator (SJR) des revues françaises : une étude comparative

Auteurs/Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Hélène Prost

Une des fonctions principales des revues scientifiques est de contribuer à l’évaluation de la recherche et des chercheurs. Depuis plus de 50 ans, le facteur d’impact (IF) de l’Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) est devenu l’indicateur dominant de la qualité d’une revue, malgré certaines faiblesses et critiques dont notamment la sur-représentation des revues anglophones. Cela est un handicap aussi bien pour les chercheurs français que pour les éditeurs francophones ; publier en français n’est pas valorisant.

Or, il existe depuis 2007 une alternative sérieuse à l’IF : le nouveau SCImago Journal Rank Indicator (SJR) qui applique l’algorithme de Google (PageRank) aux revues de la base bibliographique SCOPUS dont la couverture est plus large que celle de l’ISI.

Le but de notre étude est de comparer ces deux indicateurs par rapport aux titres français. L’objectif est de répondre à trois questions : Quelle est la couverture pour les titres français indexés par l’ISI et par SCOPUS (nombre de revues, domaines scientifiques) ? Quelles sont les différences des deux indicateurs IF et SJR par rapport aux revues françaises (classement) ? Quel est l’intérêt du SJR pour l’évaluation, en termes de représentativité des titres français ?

Les résultats de notre analyse de 368 revues françaises avec IF et/ou SJR sont plutôt encourageants pour une utilisation du nouvel indicateur SJR, du moins en complémentarité au IF :

(1) Couverture : 166 revues sont indexées par l’ISI (45 %), 345 revues par SCOPUS (94 %), 143 revues par les deux (39 %). 82% des revues sont issus des domaines STM, 18% des domaines SHS. La couverture de SCOPUS est meilleure surtout en médecine et pharmacologie.

(2) Classement : Pour les titres avec IF et SJR, la corrélation entre les deux indicateurs est significative (0,76). En termes de classement (ranking), l’IF différencie mieux les revues que le SJR (155 vs. 89 rangs). En revanche, du fait de la couverture plus exhaustive de SCOPUS, le SJR rend visible au niveau international davantage de titres.

(3) Représentativité : L’intérêt de SCOPUS et du SJR réside dans la couverture plus représentative de l’édition française (19% vs 9% pour ISI/IF), notamment en STM (38% vs 19 %), beaucoup moins en SHS (6% vs 2 %). Sont indexés surtout les titres de quelques grands éditeurs français ou internationaux ; la plupart des éditeurs français (80 %–90 %) n’ont aucun titre dans le JCR et/ou SCOPUS, même si de nouveau SCOPUS est plus représentatif (avec 17% des éditeurs vs 10% pour le JCR).

Les problèmes méthodologiques et les perspectives pour une évaluation multidimensionnelle sont discutés. L’étude compare le IF et le SJR par rapport aux 368 titres français avec IF et/ou SJR. Les résultats : La couverture du SJR est plus large que celle de l’IF (94% vs 45%) et meilleure surtout dans les sciences médicales. Pour les titres avec IF et SJR, la corrélation entre les deux indicateurs est significative (0,76). En termes de classement (ranking), l’IF différencie mieux les revues que le SJR (155 vs 89 rangs). L’intérêt du SJR réside dans la couverture plus représentative de l’édition française (19% vs 9% avec IF), notamment en STM (38% vs 19 %), moins en SHS (6% vs 2 %).




The Open Access movement has encouraged the availability of publicly-funded research papers, data and learning content for barrier-free use of that content without payment by the user. The impact of increasing availability of content to researchers in European universities is understood in terms of easier access to previous research and greater exposure for new research results, bringing benefits to the research community itself. A new culture of informal sharing is evident within the teaching and learning communities and to some extent also within the research community, but as yet the growth in informal sharing has not had a major effect upon the use of formal publication choices.

This briefing paper explores the impact of open access upon potential users of research outputs outside the walls of research-led European universities, where the economic value of open access may be even greater than the academic value within universities. The potential impact of open access is understood in many communities but requires a greater volume of open access content to be available for the full potential to be realised. More open access content will become available as the opportunities in open, internet-based digital scholarship are understood.