ACM Web Science Conference 2012 Workshop
Evanston, IL, 21 June 2012
Biomedical research is facing a crisis. Fewer than 10% of NIH grants are now getting funded (1), meanwhile an even smaller percentage of the research that does get funded turns out to be reproducible when another team tries to extend or apply the findings (2). Whatever the reason, it’s clear that we need better tools to understand what research is most likely to withstand the test of time and also to understand what research areas and teams can make the best use of research funds. New metrics based on social indicators such as bookmarks and shares on social media sites have been proposed as an addition to traditional methods involving citation counting. Mendeley provides one such source of metrics, which is a aggregation of the readership of academic papers, along with a layer of social and demographic metadata. Jason Priem has found that the readership metrics are significantly correlated (r=0.45) to Scopus citation counts (3).
Useful as these new metrics are, they tell only part of the story. It’s a useful bit of info to know the volume of citations or bookmarks or tweets about a paper or research field, but the real value lies in knowing what meaning the author intended to express when he linked paper A to paper B. Through the layer of social metadata collected around research objects at Mendeley we can start to address this challenge and add some quality to the quantitative metrics currently available.
2. Begley, C. G., & Ellis, L. M. (2012). Drug development: Raise standards for preclinical cancer research. Nature, 483(7391), 531-533. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/483531a
3. Bar-Ilan, J., Haustein, S., Peters, I., Priem, J., Shema, H., & Terliesner, J. (2012). Beyond citations: Scholars’ visibility on the social Web, 52900, 14. Digital Libraries; Physics and Society, . Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.5611
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