“Research Impact & Public Engagement” : career advice and tips for researchers

Multicoloured explosion of impact
Jobs.ac.uk ran a Google Hangout today on “Research Impact & Public Engagement”. The full hour is well worth viewing! One interesting question posed to the panellists was how to demonstrate your own impact. Answers included:
  • At the start of any research, have a clear framework in terms of aims & objectives, audience & stakeholders, what kind of impact you are aiming for. This makes it much easier to evaluate and demonstrate.
  • Talk to the right people: particularly important for early career researchers – talk to colleagues who are doing it well and to the university’s REF support staff about how to demonstrate harder aspects of public impact. They can help to explain the options.
  • Things that are measurable (citations, altmetrics) do not always demonstrate impact but exploring them can give evidence – what are the conversations happening online about your research? Who is talking about/citing it? The metrics can be “signals” for impact but usually need exploring and quantifying (e.g. percentiles) to give a context.
  • Look outside academia for expertise in evaluating engagement e.g. the BBC, museums, science centres are all leaders in this.
The panellists also all praised the value of practising “open research” as much as possible – the more people that can read it, reuse or explore the data/software, the more opportunities there are for public engagement. It was also emphasized that openness can be a great asset on an academic CV.
The final “takeout” suggestions from the panellists were:
  • Charlotte Mathieson: start small, think about digital channels, develop public engagement experience from the start of your research career.
  • Steven Hill: do the best research possible, take whatever steps you can to disseminate it widely and think about how it may be useful outside academia.
  • Stacy Konkiel: use all tools at your disposal to understand your feedback loop (e.g. the Altmetric bookmarklet or subscribe to Impactstory). See where you are winning and where could be improved?
  • Ann Grand: engagement is about receiving as much as transmitting – it will have a value for a researcher too.
Suggested resources included:

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Resources for “Open Access, Humanities and the REF” Session (08-07-15)

black and white image of a row of statues

We had a session today with the College of Arts & Humanities looking at open access issues and the new REF policy. These are the resources we talked about and a few more for exploring the topic further.

Policy Compliance

Journal Articles

  • Sherpa Romeo database for checking publisher policies – the “post-print” is the version required by the REF. Contact us (iss-research@swansea.ac.uk) if you have difficulty working out the policy – it’s not always clear.
  • The British Academy 2014 report on “Open access journals in Humanities and Social Science” and other open access discussions can be found on their website.
  • The Open Library of Humanities is a promising new publication model due to launch in 2015.


Book Chapters

General Discussion on Open Access & the Humanities

Slides from the session today are here but we will be blogging in more detail on some of the topics over the coming months.

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Finding Impact Factors: Journal Citation Reports latest issue

Finding Impact Factors: Journal Citation Reports latest edition

Journal citation reports can be used to find out the impact factor for a journal. This is a useful way of finding quality journals where your article is more likely to be cited (although it only covers science and social sciences). Our brief guide will get you started and you can find some training videos on the Thomson web site.

What’s new?

The latest edition has just been released, covering journal analysis for2014. 272 new journals have been added. There are some new metrics and an open access filter allowing people to look specifically at  open access journals.

Once you have a list of the journals for your subject you can select the open access option to see which are the best performing open access journals for your area.

JCR open access

Want to know more?

Here are a few links to information to give you a flavour of the issues surrounding JCR and Impact Factors:

Need help

If you need help using Journal Citation Reports contact your subject librarian or iss-research@swansea.ac.uk

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Final open access briefings (this year)

Due to demand (the last one was fully booked!) we have put on two more “Get REF-Ready” briefings on HEFCE’s open access policy. Click on the dates/times below to book your place:

Tue 23 June, 3-4pm

Fri 26 June, 1-2pm

We have also been invited to present on Open Access to the College of Arts & Humanities on Wed 8th July 1pm – details have been circulated to college staff internally but this session will have a humanities focus and look slightly wider than the HEFCE policy. COAH staff can book a place here.

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What you said about RIS…

Photo of post-its with RIS feedback on

Back in April we ran a series of groups to gather staff feedback on Swansea University’s Research Information System (RIS). Many thanks to all staff who participated! We had some excellent feedback and ideas across the 4 groups we ran (and some additional one-to-one conversations yielded further feedback).

We recorded all the individual comments, grouped them and scored them (attendees were asked for priorities). Some of our feedback was from RIS Administrators and focused specifically on the Admininstration tab within RIS – some minor changes have been implemented already (e.g. a new staff lookup) and other changes are currently in progress. The results relating to the general user interface are presented below. The top 10 change requests were as follows:

  1. Greater clarity and simplicity for the process of publishing documents (full text) to Cronfa: “public” flags and ticks are currently confusing.
  2. It should be possible to upload a document when adding the metadata of an output (not as a subsequent step on the separate “Documents” tab as at present).
  3. More information in the “i” help fields – what effect certain fields have and are they necessary? This covers a multitude of queries on specific fields.
  4. Confusion about dates (publication / authored / in print) in RIS and which are required. We are also missing the “Date of Acceptance” which needs to be added for REF compliance.
  5. Synchronization with ORCID so that publications could be imported from ORCID to RIS and vice versa.
  6. Adding authors for an output: to be able to do this when adding the output details (at the moment you have to save the output, then edit to add additional authors manually)
  7. Additional fields needed when adding full-text documents to RIS (e.g. version, notes).
  8. The ability to populate RIS from a search on a database such as SCOPUS or Web of Science.
  9. Allow for greater flexibility in terms of visibility on Cronfa and staff web pages: at the moment the “Publish” option covers both locations but staff would like to be able to publish documents on a staff web page and not Cronfa, for example.
  10. Confusion over the “co-authored” flag and what it means.

There was also feedback on the problem of duplicate records appearing in Cronfa (an example here). This would require a major revision to the RIS system which cannot be undertaken at present (see below) however the developers are looking at options for workarounds.

As most research staff are aware, RIS is currently experiencing high usage due to the Research Excellence Framework planning activities underway in most colleges. Changes to the user interface are therefore on hold until these exercises are over. We are hopeful that there will be a new release for RIS in the late summer / early autumn (after beta testing) which will address most of the points listed above.

If you would like to send feedback on RIS, please email us on iss-research@swansea.ac.uk and we will continue to collate ideas and suggestions.

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“Stand out and be counted” again (Fri 19 June)

We have another “Stand out and be counted” day for Swansea Uni researchers on Friday 19th June, 9.30-3.30pm in the library’s Training Room 1:

“A one day workshop to learn about tools that can help you to promote yourself and achieve the best visibility for your research including:

  • What can be counted about you? Citations, altmetrics and a look at the new Scival tool
  • Your online identity – researcher profiles including ORCID, Google Scholar and our university systems (Cronfa, RIS & staff web pages)
  • Online networking and social spaces for researchers

The day will be a mix of presentations, discussion and a chance to try some of the tools for yourself. Lunch will be provided.”

Book your place here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/stand-out-and-be-counted-building-an-effective-online-profile-for-researchers-tickets-16799774578

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RCUK & Gold Open Access at Swansea Uni

Thanks to our APC team, the Swansea University articles that have been paid for by the central Article Processing Charge (APC) pot of money for RCUK-funded research can now be found in Cronfa by using the tag “Gold Open Access”:


These articles will not be available for download within Cronfa (unless the author has uploaded the full text in our Research Information System too) but the DOI link should take you to the full text.

Funded by RCUK?

Any researcher funded by RCUK who would like to take advantage of the fund can find information on our website on how to apply and the contact email for further information: apc.requests@swansea.ac.uk

Our APC maestro Caroline Rauter has uploaded the data on our RCUK APC funding on Figshare if you are interested in how the money has been used.

A huge pile of gold ingots

APCs are Big Money e.g. the average APC paid by the Wellcome Trust was £1821 in 2012-2013; Elsevier was their largest beneficiary (20% of the total) 

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