Usage Bibliometrics as a Tool to Measure Research Activity

Abstract:  Measures for research activity and impact have become an integral ingredient in the assessment of a wide range of entities (individual researchers, organizations, instruments, regions, disciplines). Traditional bibliometric indicators, like publication and citation based indicators, provide an essential part of this picture, but cannot describe the complete picture. Since reading scholarly publications is an essential part of the research life cycle, it is only natural to introduce measures for this activity in attempts to quantify the efficiency, productivity and impact of an entity. Citations and reads are significantly different signals, so taken together, they provide a more complete picture of research activity. Most scholarly publications are now accessed online, making the study of reads and their patterns possible. Click-stream logs allow us to follow information access by the entire research community, real-time. Publication and citation datasets just reflect activity by authors. In addition, download statistics will help us identify publications with significant impact, but which do not attract many citations. Click-stream signals are arguably more complex than, say, citation signals. For one, they are a superposition of different classes of readers. Systematic downloads by crawlers also contaminate the signal, as does browsing behavior. We discuss the complexities associated with clickstream data and how, with proper filtering, statistically significant relations and conclusions can be inferred from download statistics. We describe how download statistics can be used to describe research activity at different levels of aggregation, ranging from organizations to countries. These statistics show a correlation with socio-economic indicators. A comparison will be made with traditional bibliometric indicators. We will argue that astronomy is representative of more general trends.

NASA Honors Renowned UMD Comet Science Pioneer Michael A’Hearn | UMD Right Now :: University of Maryland

“On June 12, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, NASA posthumously awarded the Exceptional Public Service Medal to University of Maryland Distinguished University Professor Michael F. A’Hearn, one of the world’s leading cometary scientists. The NASA Medal is for “fundamental work on comets and small bodies of the solar system, leadership in space missions, and ensuring public access to data from NASA missions and related projects.” …In addition to being a pillar of cometary science, another major contribution to planetary science was A’Hearn’s nearly three decades as principal investigator for the Small Bodies Node, which is the part of NASA’s Planetary Data System that specializes in the archiving, cataloging, and distributing scientific data sets relevant to asteroids, comets and interplanetary dust. A founder and advocate for the Planetary Data System, A’Hearn championed its mission to preserve data of planets and make it publically accessible….”

Data mining astronomical records fails to falsify Einstein | Ars Technica

“Observing orbits around a black hole would take a career’s worth of measurements and, frankly, who has the time? It is also a rare benefactor who will fund a couple of decades worth of telescope time. Luckily, telescopes have been collecting data for a while, and some of that happens to include the vicinity of some black holes. Recently, some scientists decided to dig up the data and test general relativity in the vicinity of a supermassive black hole….This silent revolution is spreading to every branch of science, but we are only really scratching the surface of what might be hidden in the vast reams of digitized data. Scientists can now imagine conducting experiments that, a decade ago, might have taken an entire career of observations for one data point. Today, the data may already exist and, most importantly, be accessible. In this respect, the open data movement is probably one of the more important recent developments in science.

In astronomy, the number of eyes pointed at the heavens is increasing. The sensitivity of those eyes is getting better. Once the observations are consistently documented, we will have a treasure trove of data for future generations. We will be able to test our theories of the Universe with exquisite precision….”

Follow-Up on NASA Providing Open Access to All Its Funded Research | Exposing PseudoAstronomy

“As a NASA grant awardee, you have the option to submit your accepted manuscript(s) to NASA’s PubSpace repository. PubSpace is available from a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NASA to allow wider access to the results of federally-funded research. For the grant listed below, you may deposit any peer-reviewed manuscripts describing work supported by NASA awards that were published or accepted for publication through the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system. At this time, this is not a Term and Condition of the grant listed below; however, you may voluntarily submit any manuscripts that were a result of the funded research from this grant.

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In order to complete this process, you will need to have an ORCID ID number. Your ORCID ID number is required to align your award information to you and to allow you to log into the NIHMS system. Please follow this link to create an ORCID ID or to log in with your current ORCID ID number.”

COPDESS – Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences

“The Coalition for Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) connects Earth and space science publishers and data facilities to help translate the aspirations of open, available, and useful data from policy into practice.  COPDESS has developed a statement of commitment, now signed by most leading publishers and repositories, and provides a directory of repositories for publishers and recommended best practices around data and identifiers (see links on left)….”

Project PHAEDRA: Preserving Harvard’s Early Data and Research in Astronomy

Recently, research material originally produced during the mid-to-late 19th century and early 20th century by researchers at the Harvard College Observatory was re-discovered in the HCO Plate Stacks holdings. These early notebooks and other materials are absolutely irreplaceable. The material represents the history of the Harvard College Observatory and comprises remarkable examples of primary source material showing the evolution of observation methods, along with early astronomy as a whole. The documents are also relevant to the history of women in science as the collection contains material produced by the Harvard Computers, about whom increased interest is anticipated due to the upcoming release of a book by author Dava Sobel: The Glass Universe….In support of increased access to this important collection, Wolbach Library staff worked with the Plate Stacks’ Acting Curator, Lindsay Smith, to have the material (108 large boxes) transferred from the Plate Stacks’ holdings at Harvard Depository’s Records Management Department, to Wolbach’s shelves at the Depository so that the material could be cataloged, digitized, and preserved as needed by services available to Wolbach through Harvard Library. The material will be subsequently transcribed by the Smithsonian Transcription Center (which is already working with the Plate Stacks to transcribe logbooks from their collection!) and will eventually be searchable in both HOLLIS (Harvard’s catalog) and the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS). The project is now being referred to as Project PHAEDRA, or Preserving Harvard’s Early Data and Research in Astronomy.”