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National research impact indicators from Mendeley readers

Ruth Fairclough and Mike Thelwall

Journal of Informetrics, 2015, vol. 9, issue 4, 845-859

Abstract: National research impact indicators derived from citation counts are used by governments to help assess their national research performance and to identify the effect of funding or policy changes. Citation counts lag research by several years, however, and so their information is somewhat out of date. Some of this lag can be avoided by using readership counts from the social reference sharing site Mendeley because these accumulate more quickly than citations. This article introduces a method to calculate national research impact indicators from Mendeley, using citation counts from older time periods to partially compensate for international biases in Mendeley readership. A refinement to accommodate recent national changes in Mendeley uptake makes little difference, despite being theoretically more accurate. The Mendeley patterns using the methods broadly reflect the results from similar calculations with citations and seem to reflect impact trends about a year earlier. Nevertheless, the reasons for the differences between the indicators from the two data sources are unclear.

Keywords: Scientometrics; Citation analysis; Research evaluation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:9:y:2015:i:4:p:845-859