26 October 2012

About the project: citation, impact and advocacy

Griffith University has commenced a new project supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). The project's formal name - Data Citation Infrastructure Establishment Program: Griffith University - is a bit of a mouthful, so most of the people involved have been calling this 'the data citation project'. As the title of this blog reflects though, we are very interested in citation as well as other ways of assessing impact that may give us a more holistic understanding of the impact of our researchers' data collections out in the wider world.

This project builds on previous work at Griffith University, including:

This investment in capturing collections, creating high quality metadata records and assigning DOIs has standardised things that (in theory!) should make some of our project easier, like the ability to measure data citations in publications through the use of bibliometrics. Like many others, we are hoping that the new Web of Knowledge Data Citation Index may provide a starting point for overcoming some of the difficulties that have been faced in the past with tracking citations of research data.

Unfortunately the timeframe for the project is not really long enough to really get a sense of benefits that might be accruing through the scholarly publishing process, which is why we also want to explore less traditional ways of measuring impact. Many of Griffith's research focus areas have stakeholders and audiences outside of academia, so the emergence of altmetrics tools like ImpactStory is something we are keen to delve into.

The project also aims to raise awareness of citation and impact with data collection owners and to work with them to develop strategies that will maximise the re-use of their collection over time. This is an important part of the project, but potentially also the most challenging, because this is not about the technology or methods of measuring impacts, but about culture change within the research community. This part of the project will involve a group of librarians from our Academic Services Unit. These librarians have existing relationships and an understanding of how publication, citation and research impact currently work within their disciplines. Their contribution will be essential if we are to get the message out to researchers in the most effective ways, and a number of willing volunteers have already put their hands up to find out more about the project in the coming weeks.

An important aspect of this project is to document what we are learning and to share our experiences. Natasha and I are attending eResearch Australasia next week, where we hope to catch up with other institutions who are minting DOIs and promoting the benefits of data citation to their researchers. I am especially looking forwards to the session Data Citation: Stories from the Trenches, in the hope that I can avoid the pitfalls that may be right around the corner...


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