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PhDs: Preparing for Impact LSE Public Policy Group

1 December 2011


Today’s session Defining research impacts Tracking your academic impact Planning for external impact


Defining research impacts


Defining research impacts PPG uses this definition: A research impact is a recorded or otherwise auditable occasion of influence from academic research on another actor or organization. a. Academic impacts from research are influences upon actors in academia or universities, e.g. as measured by citations in other academic authors’ work. b. External impacts are influences on actors outside higher education, that is, in business, government or civil society, e.g. as measured by references in the trade press or in government documents, or by coverage in mass media.


Tracking academic impacts


Tools for tracking academic impact Tools

Pros

Cons

Bibliometric databases such as ISI Web of Science and Scopus

Gives accurate citation counts (no duplications)

 Biased towards STEM disciplines, US and English language outputs  Only covers articles

‘Tweaked’ versions of Google such as Harzing’s Publish or Perish

Allows computation of citation scores

 Covers all academic outputs that are on the web  Easy to correct duplications

Open search via Google Scholar Citations

Covers all academic publications

 Can link to both articles and co-authors  Easy to use and will be taken up quickly


Calculating your impact score Using Publish or Perish or Google Scholar Citations, you can calculate impact scores: 

H score – shows the number of papers that have been cited that same number of times Age weighted H score –adjusts for the number of years since your first publication G score - incorporates the effect of very highly cited top publications


Putting your impact profile in context Once you have your list of publications, citations and impact scores, you need to put these in context. ď‚Ą Your career position: Senior staff generally have higher citation rates and H scores as they have published more and have had longer for these publications to be read. ď‚Ą Your discipline: Some disciplines tend to cite more than others so generally their citation rates and H scores are higher


Average H-scores by discipline and career position


Putting your impact profile in context As a PhD student, you are a ‘hub’ referencer, i.e. you reference a lot of other academics but don’t get many references to your own work. That gives you a particular profile. Your impact profile can also be affected by:  The type of output you produce (articles, working papers, conference papers)  Whether you work alone, with your supervisor, or as part of a team or programme  Whether your work is part of ‘core’ disciplinary themes or crosses subject boundaries


Output types by discipline


Origins of cites Type of Output Academic articles All book outputs Discussion and working papers Conference papers Research reports Other Not available Total Percentage of all citations

Lecturer 72.3 14.3

Senior Lecturer 75.0 19.9

Professor 74.8 18.0

3.1

1.7

4.8

5.0 3.2 2.0 0.1 100

1.5 1.1 0.8 0.0 75.0

0.6 1.4 0.2 0.1 100

25.0

18.4

56.6


Co-authorship and citations Most outputs in our dataset were single authored, but more cites went to outputs that had at least one other author


Top tips for increasing academic impacts 

 

Pick as distinctive a version of your author name as possible and stick with it Write informative article titles, abstracts and book blurbs Work with colleagues to produce multi-authored outputs Consider cross-disciplinary research projects Build communication and dissemination plans into research projects early on Always put a version of any output on the open web


Planning for external impacts


Defining external impacts HEFCE sees impact differently:  Impact is defined as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia 

Includes 

 

the activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding of an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals in any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally

Excludes 

Changes to teaching or on academic research


Strengthening links from research to impacts via public engagement

Underpinning research

Confidential

Direct contacts, auditable inputs

Intermediate Impacts - usage, or cited, by external actors

Impact on outputs or activities of external body/actors

a) Social outcomes changes or shifts, with b) Clearly positive benefits


Establishing core links from underpinning research to impacts

Underpinning research

Direct contacts, auditable inputs

Intermediate impacts - usage, or cites, by external actors

Evidence of (strong) dissemination

Reception/ audience evidence -

Impact on outputs or activities of external body/actors

Public engagement contributions

a) Social outcomes changes or shifts, with b) Clearly positive benefits


Planning for external impacts

 

Impacts take time to build up, your research needs to be undertaken, outputs need to be written and published (which can take years) and disseminated However you need to plan for external impacts And there are short-term actions you can take


Getting a picture of external impacts We again used Google to track the ‘digital impact footprint’ of academics in our dataset. We looked at:   

Their career-stage (lecturer, senior lecturer, professor) Their discipline Where their work was being used (government, business, community group)


External citations by career stage


External citations by discipline


External citations by discipline


Creating short-term ‘interim’ impacts Academic communication now involves:  Journal articles, conference papers, books and reviews  Journal articles and books are read by few (subscription only and high price), and rarely picked up by the media  Outputs are often long and not easy to read BUT  social scientists are observers who need to communicate their observations to the world (in a timely fashion)  much of social scientists’ knowledge and input goes unapplied because of very long time-lines for outputs, and lack of adaptation or translation


Creating short-term ‘interim’ impacts So to create impact, your work needs to be found and be easily understood. Step 1: Create a public profile on the LSE site and on Google Scholar Citations Step 2: Use social media to raise the profile of yourself and your research, e.g. write blogs, write online book reviews, tweet


Academic blogging Why blog?  Shorter articles: 300 – 1,200 words therefore good for external audiences  Easy to share via social media and email  Searchable and available on open web  Whole person style – where content may be personal as well as academic  Dissemination is immediate so too is comments and feedback  Easy to start, with software such as Wordpress takes 10 minutes to set up  A valuable job finding tool as employers can see more than just your CV


Academic blogging: single author blogs You could start your own, single author blog. Here though:  Content is king, unless you post regularly traffic will die off  Some SABs are successful where the name is well known (Paul Krugman) but most SABs are now either shutting down or joining with other bloggers  Appetite for personal commentary/ glimpses of life has now shifted to Twitter?


Academic blogging: multi-author blogs So instead a good choice for academics is to contribute to a multi-authored blog. The advantages are:  Multiple contributors covering many topics or subjects, posting regularly and reliably, so that readers know when to return  All the admin work is done for you, and your blog is disseminated out to a wider network of interest than you could create on your own  Comments and social media can help build a community  You can get feedback on reader numbers and retweets via blog staff using Google Analytics


Social media: Twitter Why tweet?  Build up a network of all those who are working in your area  Quick access to relevant work that is being done  Find out about events and networking opportunities  Disseminate blogs or research that you’ve done  Useful teaching tool to keep in touch with students or highlight research


Social media: Twitter styles ď‚Ą Substantive - full sentences, independently understandable, a taster for a blog post

ď‚Ą Conversational - eclectic content, professional and personal life, diverse topics

ď‚Ą Middle ground - goes beyond corporate focus, more personality but still professional


Creating longer term impacts Your profile will depend on how you move forward in your career, teaching or research only career paths, as part of a research group, university or external research organisation.  Build dissemination and impact plans into your research process  Work with colleagues on multi-authored and possibly cross-disciplinary work  Work with external organisations where possible, intermediaries such as community groups and think tanks can be valuable sources of impact


Top tips for increasing external impacts for academics 

Create an ‘impact file’ to collect information on all your external interactions: meetings with people at seminars, email exchanges etc can all be useful to build an impact profile Make full use of all the available resources within your Department and School: online depository for published work and working papers, blogs, media training, events with external stakeholders, HEIF funding, knowledge transfer schemes Think about communication, dissemination and the impact of your research throughout the research process


For more details see: Impact of Social Sciences blog covers all key topics on advances in academic dissemination and impact http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/ Maximising the Impacts of your Research handbook is freely available to download from the Impact of Social Science blog Email: impactofsocialsciences@lse.ac.uk Twitter: @lseimpactblog Facebook: Impact of Social Sciences

PhDs Preparing For Impact  

A presentation aimed at PhD students on measuring your academic impact. Blogging, tweeting, Google Scholar Citations, Web of Science, H Scor...

PhDs Preparing For Impact  

A presentation aimed at PhD students on measuring your academic impact. Blogging, tweeting, Google Scholar Citations, Web of Science, H Scor...

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