5 Tips to Amplify the Impact of Your Scholarly Work

Individuals, departments and institutions are increasingly concerned with understanding and evaluating scholars, their output and productivity, as well as the impact of their scholarly work.  If you are an instructor or researcher, your own personal curiosity may lead you to search for strategies to demonstrate impact, or it may be a requirement for academic promotion, or to get tenure.  Here are 5 ways you can increase the impact of the work you do.

1. Make your work available to as wide an audience as possible

Making your work (or some version of it) open access is a great way to increase impact. Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of scholarly work, coupled with the rights specified by the scholar to reuse this work. Indiana University provides the IUScholarWorks and IUScholarWorks Open repositories to help scholars disseminate and preserve their work.  Works deposited in these repositories are assigned a permanent identifier that will not change over time, as well as descriptive keywords to make works discoverable to others. 

IUScholarWorks Open hosts articles published after February 2017 that are subject to the Indiana University Bloomington Faculty Open Access PolicyIUScholarWorks is a wider repository that is designed to host, preserve, and make discoverable a variety of scholarly work by any IU affiliate (e.g. white papers, presentations, data, educational materials, research articles,  poster presentations, etc.).

In addition, IU Libraries provides open access journal publishing options.  IUScholarWorks Open Journals is a suite of over 55 journals that offer open access publishing in a variety of disciplines such as education, vascular medicine, optometry history, digital heritage, newborn developmental care, languages, folklore, disability studies, and interdisciplinary undergraduate research.

2. Manage your scholarly identity and promote your work

Managing your online scholarly identity is an important strategy for scholarly impact – research offices and employers increasingly look at online profiles as a surrogate CV, and some services are already tracking and collating the work of scholars and generating impact profiles.  Two easy first steps in taking charge of your online identity are creating an ORCID iD and a Google Scholar profile. 

An ORCID iD is a persistent numeric identifier that is unique to you. Using ORCID connects you with a trusted record of your education and employment affiliation, and work that you have contributed including presentations, publications, or educational materials.  You can use the permanent identifier provided by IUScholarWorks in ORCID, so that others can access your work. Go to www.orcid.org  or consult our ORCID Libguide: guides.libraries.indiana.edu/Orcid-IU.  

Google Scholar is a tool that can be used to keep track of your own publications, and publications that cite your work. It can help you increase search engine optimization (SEO), and make your work more discoverable. Google Scholar indexes material deposited in IUScholarWorks and can send you an alert when it indexes work that should be attributed to you. For more information see https://libraries.indiana.edu/google-scholar.  If you already have a Google Scholar profile, review it to ensure that the record of your work is accurate and up to date.  

Many academics also social media and social sharing platforms to promote their work.  You can write a short plain-language summary of your work and include your IUScholarWorks permanent identifier so that others can review the work for themselves. You can also include your ORCID iD so that potential readers can see the full range of work that you have done.

3. Make an impact plan

The beginning of a semester is a great time for forward planning.  An impact plan should include:

  • The factors you will be evaluated on.
  • One or more achievable goals for your scholarly work over the semester.
  • Strategies and tools to help you increase, track and document the impact of that work.
  • A roadmap detailing steps and timeframes to implement the strategies and tools.

4. Learn what quantitative and qualitative indicators are suitable for evaluating your work and how they might be used

Best practice in scholarly evaluation recommends using multiple indicators to provide a more robust picture of attention, influence, and impact.

A common metric is citation counts, or the number of times that a published work has appeared in the reference list of research articles or books. This metric is best used in evaluating the usefulness of research articles, books, and datasets, but citations take time to accrue, and a work may be cited to critique or disparage it rather than for its usefulness.  Journal Impact factor is a venue-level measure reflecting the annual average number of citations of recent articles published in that journal. It can be useful in comparing the relative influence of journals within a discipline but is not a good indicator of the quality or usefulness of individual articles or authors.

Altmetrics include item views, downloads, media coverage, government policy mentions, and social media mentions.  These track attention, but are not accurate indicators of whether someone has actually read your work. Some social sharing sites (Mendeley, Academia.edu) offer readership statistics – again, this does not track actual reading but rather the number of users who have added an article into their personal library.

Altmetric providers and some repositories also track a user’s geographic location when they access an item.  While this can illustrate the geographic reach of a scholarly work, it can be affected by the use of VPN (virtual private networks) and some ISP (internet service provider) practices that mask users’ true locations

Qualitative indicators are equally important and may include:

  • Invitations e.g. to speak, facilitate, intervene, exhibit or consult
  • Grant funding
  • Patents/Licenses
  • Changes in professional or technical standards
  • Incorporation in workflows or implementation in your field
  • Participant feedback

IU librarians can help you use appropriate indicators to create a narrative around the scholarly contributions that are most valuable to you to make your case for scholarly excellence.

5. Consult with a Librarian

IU librarians will partner with you to:

  • Manage your online scholarly identity
  • Increase the visibility of your work.
  • Incorporate practices within your teaching and scholarship to facilitate gathering data on impact.
  • Understand how metrics and altmetrics are calculated and used, their benefits and limitations, and how to apply them to your work.
  • Identify and use qualitative indicators of impact.
  • Recommend other relevant services such as IU Libraries CV Service openscholarship.indiana.edu/oa-cv-service.   

To learn more about the impact services offered by IU Libraries, review our impact services page, or contact the Scholarly Communication Department at iusw@indiana.edu.

 

ORCID requirement for NIH – 2nd deadline fast approaching

The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have implemented the 1st phase of the new requirement for ORCID iDs for researchers supported by new training (T), fellowship (F), education, or career development (K) awards in fiscal year (FY) 2020. The requirement for ORCID identifiers was incorporated into the appointment process for trainees, scholars, and participants supported by institutional research training, career development, and research education awards that require new appointments through the xTrain system in October 2019At the time of appointment, the xTrain system will check whether appointees have ORCID iDs and appointments will be not be accepted for agency review unless an ORCID iD is linked to the individual’s eRA Commons Personal Profile.  

An ORCID iD is a single persistent numeric identifier that is unique to you. Researcher names are neither unique nor static. Many researchers may have the same name, and your name may change over time with life events. Using ORCID connects you with a trusted, verifiable record of your education and employment affiliation, grant funding, research, and work that you have contributed such as presentations or publications. This verification along with its data transfer capacity i.e. ORCID’s ability to move information through connected information systems designated by the user (via APIs or  Search & Link functions), makes ORCID a natural partner for integration into the eRA Commons PPF. 

Beginning with receipt dates on or after January 25, 2020, the requirement for ORCID identifiers will be enforced at the time of application for new individual fellowship and career development awards. The requirement does not apply to fellowship and mentored career development non-competing renewals, or to individuals supported via administrative supplements to enhance diversity.

Researchers must create an ORCID iD (Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier) and associate it with their eRA Commons Personal Profile. The eRA Commons is an online interface where grant applicants, grantees and federal staff at NIH and grantor agencies can access and share administrative information relating to research grants. The Personal Profile (PPF) in eRA Commons is the central repository of information on all registered users. It is designed so that individual eRA system users can hold and maintain ownership over the accuracy of their own profile information, and provides a single profile per person, regardless of the various roles they may hold throughout their relationship with the agency (e.g. trainee, graduate student, principal investigator, etc.), assuring data accuracy and integrity. Learn how to create and link your ORCID iD to the eRA Commons here.

At Indiana University, you can connect your ORCID iD with Digital Measures for annual reporting. 

You can also link your ORCID iD to other professional accounts such as PubMed, SciENcv, Web of Science, and ScholarOne.   Learn more about how to register for and use ORCID in our guide – ORCID@IU

Scholarly Communications, Equity and Inclusion: Part 2

This blog post is part of a two-part series addressing the 2018 theme of Open Access Week: “Designing equitable foundations for open knowledge.”

In my last post I framed the issue of diversity in scholarly communications within the context of the profession of librarianship.  I asked

If, as I argue, diversity has intrinsic value, why then should the qualification for professional librarianship not reflect diverse approaches?

Restructuring entry to the profession with diversity in mind can take many different pathways.  A diverse approach could consider whether an undergraduate degree in librarianship can be a path to professional librarianship.   It could consider means of evaluating on-the-job training, as well as other means of providing certifications, perhaps by structured professional development courses, immersive summer schools, or other avenues for cumulative certifications that can eventually provide a professional qualification. It could consider whether access to those certifications can be provided to wide constituencies such as persons holding undergraduate degrees, persons with professional experience, persons with associate degrees, and persons who can competently pass an entrance examination. It could also consider developing and promulgating standards for library technicians and other classes of library professionals.

In terms of access to opportunities within academic programs, individuals with power within academic institutions must make conscious decisions to critically analyze conceptions of ‘best fit’ candidates and ask themselves whether this is simply privileging a particular cultural experience.  Such individuals must recognize the value that persons from different backgrounds can contribute to their institutions and make decisions to create space for such persons.  At the institutional level academic programs must be reformed to ensure that work experience is built into the programs for every entrant and that there is flexibility for entrants to change positions as their interests develop.

Most, if not all of these steps carry risks.  There is the risk in creating ‘diversity hire’ positions, that the scholarly community will suspect that the selected candidate was not necessarily the most qualified person for the job.  My own position, the Open Scholarship Resident Librarian, is a diversity residency created by the IU Libraries, and I have wondered whether others may think I was offered this position based on my race rather than my qualifications.

There is the risk in moving the discourse beyond representation and inclusion to think about the intrinsic value of diversity. The risk is that shifting the focus from representation can be used to perpetuate exclusion of underrepresented populations, on the basis that any individual necessarily brings a diversity of experience to the community.  There is also a risk that diversifying paths of entry to the LIS field would lead to devaluation of the worth and work of professional librarians as well as salary degradation.

We have to investigate these risks. These risks can be departure points for further scholarly inquiry.  We must ask what kinds of data must be collected, what practices must be put in place, and what decision making behaviors must be interrogated to address these concerns.  However, this should not inhibit work toward the deconstruction of established exclusionary systems.

These proposals can be applied in other areas of academia beyond librarianship.  The broad need for restructuring of credentialing is pointed to by Jonathan Finklestein of digital credentialing service Credly, in this article on alternative credentials.  Using alternative paths to credentialing is one step, the next step is to figure out how to get a wider array of voices into the scholarly and cultural record.

The institutional repository of Indiana University – IU Scholarworks – is a good example of a how to provide an access point for diverse voices.   Access to the repository is not limited to faculty and scholars. Anyone with a connection to IU can deposit work into the repositories, and once deposited the works are freely available for anyone to access.  The same applies to our Open Journals platform, which provides a low or no-cost digital journal publishing service.

The Indiana University Libraries Diversity Strategic Plan and the work of the Diversity Committee reflects an appreciation of the risks and nuances, while doing actual work to transform the library into a space that people from traditionally excluded groups can access and thrive.  The collections are being revamped, alternative qualifications are specifically referred to in job postings whenever possible, a member of the Diversity Committee takes part in the search and screen committees, and job applicants are specifically questioned on their commitment to diversity. The Diversity Committee plans outreach to cultural centers, the office of disability services, veteran support services and many other campus bodies that serve staff as well as faculty, in its work. IU Libraries joined the ACRL Diversity Alliance and created its first Diversity Residency – my position, the Open Scholarship Resident Visiting Assistant Librarian.

In my work I investigate the publishing output of the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries through Open Journals and the university repositories.  The goal is to identify gaps, and reach out to underrepresented communities and provide them with access to publishing.  Indiana University maintains several repositories for articles, thematic series, theses and dissertations, and images and video.  Our librarians can help you assess your rights to place your work into the repositories.  The goal is to create a scholarly environment without cost, geographical, or systemic barriers.  You can reach out to me at wtavern@iu.edu.

Scholarly Communications, Equity and Inclusion: Part 1

This blog post is part of a two-part series addressing the 2018 theme of Open Access Week: “Designing equitable foundations for open knowledge.”

The landscape of scholarly communication has become more diverse, moving beyond traditional book and journal publishing.  We now have an entire spectrum of methods of open scholarship available, with varying levels of formality, recognition and acceptance, such as –

  • open access publishing;
  • self-archiving by depositing scholarly data, pre-prints and post-prints in open repositories;
  • digital platforms for sharing data, articles and source code;
  • social networks;
  • blogs; and
  • podcasts. 

This diverse spectrum of scholarly communications challenges us to think about diversity within our profession, as well as equity and inclusion in terms of who and what is reflected in the scholarly record.

I believe diversity is an imperative, not only because we serve diverse communities, but because diversity is a service in itself.  I refer to this as the intrinsic value of diversity.  Our differences allow us to bring a variety of perspectives that enrich each other’s lives and the lives of the communities we serve, even if that community is completely homogenous.   We want all the best minds to contribute to scholarship, regardless of race, ability, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status,  or geographic limitations.  Therefore, discussion of diversity must include, but move beyond, representation of the diverse communities we serve, and we must take a critical look at the structures of power that perpetuate exclusion.

As Alice Meadows points out in her recent article – Eight Ways to Tackle Diversity and Inclusion in Peer Review – it has become apparent that there is a serious lack of diversity and inclusion in publishing, scholarly communications and academia.  Her thoughtful piece shows how academia has constructed an exclusionary system that permeates through all facets of the scholarly communications landscape.

Librarianship reaches into all areas of academia, and over the last 2 decades has taken the lead in promoting a more open equitable environment for scholarly communications.  However, it is also a discipline that exemplifies that exclusionary system, despite the proliferation of diversity initiatives  over the last decade. The LIS profession generally regards itself as committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, as a safe space for persons of all abilities, sexual and gender orientations, and as anti-racist.   These narratives are welcome, and when they are translated into practices that actively recruit and foster the development of persons from underrepresented groups, they contribute to a more equitable scholarly environment.  However, a 2017 Ithaka S&R study of academic research libraries (Schonfield, R and Low, J “Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity:Members of the Association of Research Libraries Employee Demographics and Director Perspectives” (2017)) revealed the critical lack of diversity in the profession despite 20 years of diversity initiatives, beginning with the ALA Spectrum Scholarship in 1997.

However, these initiatives have not dismantled the exclusionary construct of the scholarly field or the profession.   One important issue that has been lacking from the diversity narrative is an interrogation of the structure of LIS as a profession.

Two structural issues that impact diversity in present-day librarianship are barriers to entry, and access to opportunities during LIS studies.  Prior to 1950 librarianship qualifications varied, including apprenticeship within a local library, summer training schools, and even and undergraduate degrees (see also Reports of the Iowa Library Commission 1901-1916 available at hathitrust.org).

This is no longer the case.  As a general rule, to become a librarian, an advanced degree is required, usually an MLS or its equivalent, or in more recent years, institutions have been increasingly willing to accept a subject-matter Masters degree. Within graduate programs, access to opportunities for meaningful experience are structured around concepts and expectations that align with North American, white, middle class cultural experiences.  While increasing numbers of entrants come to librarianship as a second career, the educational trajectory of most entrants is strikingly similar and coalesce around this same cultural experience.

People of color, people in lower socio-economic brackets which are disproportionately comprised of people of color, and people who are from the global south, again generally comprised of people of color, do not necessarily have this cultural experience.  Many of these persons may also have faced societal opportunity gaps and unequal access to resources from the earliest stages of formal education.  Moreover, persons within these groups are not one dimensional –  they may have other characteristics which inhibit access, such as disabilities, age, being a parent, and gender and sexual orientation.  When we consider the layering of all these facets, entry to the field of librarianship and space to thrive within it, becomes increasingly difficult to navigate for persons within these groups.

As a result, while narratives of diversity proliferate within LIS, access to the field is largely limited to a homogenous cultural and socio-economic trajectory.  If, as I argue, diversity has intrinsic value, why then should the qualification for professional librarianship not reflect diverse approaches?

I explore this question further in a following post.

The Scholarly Communication Department Welcomes Open Scholarship Diversity Resident

The Scholarly Communication Department welcomes our new Open Scholarship Diversity Resident this week – Willa Liburd Tavernier. Willa is the IU Libraries’ first Diversity Resident. She will be working with the Scholarly Communication Department and IU Press to advocate for and assess the impact of policies and practices that make research, educational materials, and data, openly accessible.

Image: Photo of Willa Liburd Tavernier
Willa Liburd Tavernier, IU Libraries Open Scholarship Resident

Willa’s current research interests include investigating the underlying theoretical basis for open scholarship, and critical information literacy.  Before joining IU, Willa worked as a student specialist at the University of Iowa conducting bibliographic analysis of open access funded research and assisting with administration of the institutional repository.

Willa earned her MLIS from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa together with a Graduate Certificate in College Teaching.  She also holds a Master of Laws from American University Washington College of Law, a Legal Education Certificate from Norman Manley Law School and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill.

Please join us in welcoming Willa to the IU Libraries!

IUScholarWorks Journals Now Minting DOIs

An example of an article with a DOI in the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
An example of an article with a DOI in the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

IUScholarWorks is pleased to announce that we are now offering the ability to mint DOIs for IUScholarWorks journal content in partnership with CrossRef.

A DOI, or Digital Object Identifier, is a string of characters that uniquely identifies an online item and serves as a stable, permanent URL. This functionality makes it easier for online content to be discovered, used, and cited.

As part of IUScholarWorks’s agreement with CrossRef, journals that use this service are required to check for and include existing DOIs for all article citations. Therefore, we encourage journals with back content to issue DOIs only for prospective content (if your needs extend beyond this, please contact us).

Within OJS, the DOI plugin allows journal managers to configure the journal’s DOI settings, and the CrossRef XML Export plugin enables them to export metadata for deposit into the CrossRef database. Additionally, editors have the ability to add DOIs to article PDFs prior to publication.

To start issuing DOIs for your IUScholarWorks journal, please contact us at iusw@indiana.edu. Detailed instructions are also available on the IUScholarWorks wiki.