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Article
Publication date: 31 October 2018

Frederik T. Verleysen and Tim C.E. Engels

The purpose of this paper is to present an empirical assessment of the weight assigned to monographs in the publication indicator of the performance-based research funding…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an empirical assessment of the weight assigned to monographs in the publication indicator of the performance-based research funding system (PRFS) in Flanders, Belgium. By relating publication weight to publication size the authors offer an alternative perspective on the production of scholars who publish monographs. This perspective on weights is linked to the aggregation level at which PRFS indicators are used: the national/regional one as opposed to the local one. In Flanders as elsewhere the publication indicator designed for funding distribution between universities has sometimes trickled down to institutions, their faculties and departments.

Design/methodology/approach

As an alternative indicator of scholarly production the authors propose the median number of pages of a publication type. Measuring the size of publications allows to compare the weight ratio between monographs and journal articles in the publication indicator to their size ratio in the VABB-SHW database. The authors compare two levels, one of four universities and one of 16 disciplines.

Findings

Median publication size differences between disciplines are much larger than those between universities. This indicates that an increase of monographs’ weight in the publication indicator would hardly affect funding distribution at the regional level. Disciplines with a relatively large share of monographs, however, would contribute more to the publication indicator. Hence an increase of monographs’ weight might provide a better balance between fields and between publication types.

Originality/value

This paper presents a thought experiment regarding the weight assigned to different publication types in the publication indicator of the Flemish PRFS: what would happen if this weight were replaced by the median number of pages of a publication type? In doing so, we highlight that such weighting schemes play an important role in finding a balance between fields of research. The sizeable differences between weight and size ratios offer a new and critical perspective on the weighting schemes currently used in PRFS, also in other countries.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 70 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Alesia A Zuccala, Frederik T. Verleysen, Roberto Cornacchia and Tim C.E. Engels

– The purpose of this paper is to assess the value of Goodreads reader ratings for measuring the wider impact of scholarly books published in the field of History.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the value of Goodreads reader ratings for measuring the wider impact of scholarly books published in the field of History.

Design/methodology/approach

Book titles were extracted from the reference lists of articles that appeared in 604 history journals indexed in Scopus (2007-2011). The titles were cleaned and matched with WorldCat.org (for publisher information) as well as Goodreads (for reader ratings) using an API. A set of 8,538 books was first filtered based on Dewey Decimal Classification class 900 “History and Geography”, then a subset of 997 books with the highest citations and reader ratings (i.e. top 25 per cent) was analysed separately based on additional characteristics.

Findings

A weak correlation (0.212) was found between citation counts and reader rating counts for the full data set (n=8,538). An additional correlation for the subset of 997 books indicated a similar weak correlation (0.190). Further correlations between citations, reader ratings, written reviews, and library holdings indicate that a reader rating on Goodreads was more likely to be given to a book held in an international library, including both public and academic libraries.

Originality/value

Research on altmetrics has focused almost exclusively on scientific journal articles appearing on social media services (e.g. Twitter, Facebook). In this paper we show the potential of Goodreads reader ratings to identify the impact of books beyond academia. As a unique altmetric data source, Goodreads can allow scholarly authors from the social sciences and humanities to measure the wider impact of their books.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 67 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 67 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

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