A Survey of Use of Researcher Profiling Services Across the 24 Russell Group Universities
Posted by Brian Kelly on 1 August 2012
Back in March 2012 in a post on Profiling Staff and Researcher Use of Cloud Services Across Russell Group Universities I summarised usage of Academia.edu, LinkedIn, ResearcherID and Google Scholar Citations across the 2o Russell Group universities. The post highlighted complementary surveys which had been carried out by Jenny Delasalle, who in Twitter profile describes herself as a “Research support Librarian: interested in bibliometrics, copyright, scholarly communications, and all sorts!” based at the University of Warwick. That connection subsequently led to Jenny and I writing a paper which asked “Can LinkedIn and Academia.edu Enhance Access to Open Repositories?” which was presented at the Open Repositories 2012 conference, OR 2012.
As described in a one-minute video summary and a 4 minute slidecast, in our paper Jenny and I described personal evidence which suggested that use of LinkedIn and Academia.edu can help to raise the profile of peer-reviewed papers hosted in institutional repositories if links to the papers are provided in these popular services as this may enhance the Google ranking for the institutional repository.
As described on the Russell Group University Web site: “Through their outstanding research and teaching, unrivalled links with businesses and a commitment to civic responsibility, Russell Group universities make an enormous impact on the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of the UK“. But to what extent are the Russell Group universities making use of researcher profiling services to enhance access to their research outputs, especially, those hosted in institutional open access repositories?
Updated Survey of Russell Group University Use of Researcher Profiling Services
The methodologies which were used in the previous blog posts and repeated for the findings published in our paper has been used again, this time to provide a benchmark for use of these services across the enlarged collection of Russell Group universities, which was enlarged to 24 institutions on 1 August 2012 following the incorporation of Durham and Exeter University, Queen Mary, University of London and the University of York.
In addition to benchmarking four additional institutions, following Jenny Delasalle’s blog post about ResearchGate the ResearchGate service was also included in the survey.
It was noted that the figures given in this table for the Google Scholar Citation are an underestimate. This appears to be due to the design of the REST interface to the entries. The table has been updated with the correct figures.
- The numbers may be skewed by errors or variants in names of institutions. For example there are 140 people in academia.edu who are associated with the bham.ac.uk rather than the birmingham.ac.uk domain.
- The numbers for Academia.edu and ResearcherID were obtained by a search for the institution’s name. However a link to the findings is not available.
- Searches for ResearcherID were for institution name except for the University of Birmingham which included UK to avoid name clashes.
- The findings for institutions such as Queen’s University Belfast and King’s College London with apostrophes in the institution’s name may be skewed due to different policies on resolving such names.
It should be noted that the five services covered in this survey are different and it would be inappropriate to make comparisons across the services – in particular although Academia.edu, ResearcherID, Google Scholar Citations and ResearchGate are intended for the research community, LinkedIn has a wider remit and, understandably, has a larger audience.
In addition, as described in the Notes, there may be flaws or inconsistencies in the way in which the data was gathered and displayed. In particular it seems that the lack of an agreed institutional ID means that users may associate themselves with different variants of their institution, with this seemingly being the case for institutions contains apostrophes, in particular.
The previous survey and subsequent paper suggested that use of popular social media services by researchers could enhance access to the researchers’ research outputs if links to their outputs were provided from the services. I am still convinced that this is the case but appreciate that further evidence may be needed in order to convince decision-makers that a coordinated approach to providing links to the content of open access repositories would help to maximise access to the resources. For now, however, this post is intended to provide a benchmark of use of the services on the launch day for the enlarged group of Russell Group Universities. In addition I would welcome feedback on the survey methodology, especially from the Russell Group Universities who may find that their information is fragmented across several variants of the institution’s name.
I would also, of course, welcome comments in the implications of the findings and their relevance in the context of the 24 institutions referenced in the survey. Researchgate, for example, appears to have information on over 426K papers ranging from 1.8K at LSE to 39K at the University of Cambridge. What proportion of research papers hosted in institutional repositories does this cover? And if the numbers appear low for some institutions does this mean that the institutions should seek to take appropriate actions to increase the numbers, or ignore such findings as it may simply demonstrate the lack of relevance of the services?
Paradata: As described in a post on Paradata for Online Surveys blog posts which contain live links to data will include a summary of the survey environment in order to help ensure that survey findings are reproducible, with information on potentially misleading information being highlighted.
The values for Google Scholar Citation for the universities of Birmingham and Newcastle include ‘UK’ in the search field in order to avoid including information from US and Australian universities with the same name.
It should also be noted that I was logged into the services when I gathered the information.
It should also be noted that the low values for LinkedIn followers for King’s College London and Queen’s University Belfast are felt to be due to the apostrophe used in the institution’s names. For example of search (carried out on 31 July 2012) on LinkedIn for King’s College London gives 3,758 hits but a search for Kings College London gives 328 hits.