09 November 2012

Charleston Conference 2012: part 1

Yesterday I attended the preconference day in Charleston. The 32nd Charleston Conference proper started today, but yesterday provided an opportunity to meet publishers and suppliers during the vendor showcase and to participate in preconference meetings. I went along to an afternoon meeting 'COUNTER at 10: Evolving measures of journal impact, value and utility'. In this session, moderated by Carol Tenopir (University of Tennessee) five speakers - Paul Wouters (University of Leiden); Hazel Woodward (Co-chair Usage Factor Project); Richard Cave (PLoS); Mayur Amin (Elsevier); Ellen Rotenberg (Science and IP Business of Thomson Reuters) offered a range of perspectives on new forms of metrics for evaluating research. This included author or institution metrics, as well as more traditional article-level metrics such as citation counts.

The first two presentations seemed particularly interesting. Paul Wouters provided a good overview of the issues involved in developing new ways of measuring impact, outlining three criteria for tools:
  • Scalable;
  • Transparent data management;
  • Allow for normalisation - should be usable across the full range of subject areas;
He discussed findings from the study: Wouters, P. and Costas, R. (2012). Users, Narcissism and Control: Tracking the Impact of Scholarly Publications in the 21st Century. Utrecht: SURFfoundation. This compared a number of approaches to new metrics and highlighted a few promising tools:
  • F1000;
  • Microsoft Academic - "to our own surprise";
  • Total Impact - now ImpactStory - which allows users to build pictures of impact from diverse sources, including social media;
  • PLOS ONE - which was discussed by Richard Cave in more detail later in the session<;/li>
  • Google Scholar - although it lacks transparency about its coverage.
Hazel Woodward discussed the Usage Factor project, suggesting that journal usage statistics can complement impact factor measures - providing very different information. A draft code of practice for usage factors has already been released with a view to testing the methodology in 2013.

I'll try to post links to all these presentations when they become available.

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