31 Flavors of Research Impact through #altmetrics

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

There probably aren’t 31 clear flavours of research impact. How many are there? Maybe 5 or 7 or 12? We don’t know. But it would be a safe bet that, just like ice cream, our society needs them all. It depends whether we have a cone or a piece of apple pie. The goal isn’t to compare flavours: one flavour isn’t objectively better than another. They each have to be appreciated on their own merits for the needs they meet. To do this we have to be able to tell the flavours apart. Imagine that for ice cream all you had to go by was a sweetness metric. Not happening, right? So too, citations alone can’t fully inform what kind of difference a research paper has made on the world. Important, but not enough. We need more dimensions to distinguish the flavour clusters from each other. This is where #altmetrics comes in. By analyzing patterns in what people are reading, bookmarking, sharing, discussing, AND citing online we can figure out what kind – what flavour – of impact a research output is making. Unfortunately we can’t accurately derive the meaning of these activities by just thinking about them. What kind of impact *is* it if someone tweets about a paper a lot? Is it a titilating champagne giggle because the title was amusing, or a strawberry indication they were thrilled because someone just solved their method struggle? We need to do research to figure this out. Flavours are important for research outputs other than just papers, too. Some publicly available research datasets are used all the time in education but rarely research, others are used once or twice by really impactful projects, others across a field for calibration, etc. Understanding and recognizing these usage scenarios will be key in recognizing and rewarding the contributions of dataset creators.   source: Research Remix, Heather Piwowar
Via researchremix.wordpress.com

The Perils of ‘Bite Size’ Science; why shorter articles are cited more frequently and why this is worrisome

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

In recent years, a trend has emerged in the behavioral sciences toward shorter and more rapidly published journal articles. These articles are often only a third the length of a standard paper, often describe only a single study and tend to include smaller data sets. Shorter formats are promoted by many journals, and limits on article length are stringent — in many cases as low as 2,000 words. This shift is partly a result of the pressure that academics now feel to generate measurable output. According to the cold calculus of “publish or perish,” in which success is often gauged by counting citations, three short articles can be preferable to a single longer one   The authors see a number of serious problems with the short-article format.   First, they dispute that short articles get more bang for the buck.   Second, they challenge the idea that shorter articles are easier and quicker to read.   Third, they worry that shorter, single-study articles can be poor models of science.   Finally, they are troubled by the link between small study size and publication bias.   The authors urge that editors demand more replication of unexpected findings and that the importance that the academic community gives to quantity of citations be balanced with a greater awareness of potential publication bias.   Source: Gray Matter The Perils of ‘Bite Size’ Science Henrik Drescher By Marco Bertamini and Marcus R. Munafò,  psychologists at the University of Liverpool and the University of Bristol, respectively. Published: New York Times, January 28, 2012
Via www.nytimes.com

ImpactFinder Tool Helps Universities Measure the Impact of Research

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

In light of the challenges posed by the pending REF, RAND Europe and Ranmore Consulting Group have developed an analysis and advice package to support universities in their preparations and, crucially, to help them evaluate the impact of their research portfolios. At the core of this advice package is the RAND Europe ImpactFinder tool — a methodology for identifying impactful research. The ImpactFinder methodology was developed initially for the Arthritis Research Campaign and is now used by a number of research funders. The ImpactFinder provides an overview of research impact and a basis for more detailed examination of the ‘why and how’ of research translation. The tool is implemented as a web questionnaire and collects information across a range of social, cultural and economic impacts.   To give you an idea of where impacts are likely to fall please refer to this brief summary of what is included in the survey section for each research area:   1. Project/programme: This section asks what discipline(s) you are associated with, and what type(s) of research activities you have been involved in.   2. Wider engagement: This section asks if research projects involving engagement with individuals and/or groups outside of the university system have led to benefits for those outside of the university system. This asks about any collaborative research that has taken place, and any impacts that might have emerged as a result of collaborative activity.   3. Society and quality of life: This section asks about the dissemination activities and benefits associated with your research more widely in society and business. It first asks about dissemination activities to audiences outside of academia. It then asks about contributions to public knowledge creation, education and learning, business practices, and legal outcomes.   4. Public policy: This section asks about impacts your research may have had on policymaking. For example, if your work informed policymaking processes and/or decision making in policy entities (e.g. national government, European Union, industry, etc.)   5. Cultural benefits: This brief section asks about impacts on cultural activities, broadly defined, including contributions through cultural enrichment, public events, the creative industries and preservation of heritage.   6. Economic benefits: This section asks about the diversity of economic benefits that can be associated with your research, including employment opportunities, revenues, etc.   7. Inventions/Products: This section asks about long-term impacts through contributions to copy right/patented products and/or inventions.       The ImpactFinder, can be accessed at: http://demo.impactfinder.org/
Via www.rand.org

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