Increasing the Impact of your Research

UHL Writing Club were pleased to host Laurian Williamson (Open Access and Research Data Manager, University of Leicester) who delivered an interesting presentation on measuring the impact of research. 

Key points included:

  •  Funders of research want demonstrable impact, but this can be open to interpretation. Traditional citations/ impact factors are one measure of impact, but Altmetrics may be used to complement this. Making things open is a big drive now from all funders and publishers to make evidence available to all.
  • Impact can also be important for networking, building credibility and employability.
  • Research Excellence Framework (REF) which assesses academic institutions expects all publications to be Open Access. Open Access does not mean ‘no peer-review’.
  • Some funders insist on Open Research e.g. The Wellcome Trust
  • The broader perspective is also important, we have a responsibility to archive and preserve information for future scholars.
  • If doing citation analysis, use two or more tools to increase reliability e.g. Web of Science/ Scopus/ Google Scholar
  • The Altmetric doughnut is a downloadable bookmarklet (avoid Internet Explorer) that calculates citations of a doi (Digital Object identifier) from over 8000 sources, including grey literature, policy documents, social media, and public health. Very much a live picture of recent awareness online, and about who is discussing my research. Very much a live picture of recent awareness. Need more evidence for the usefulness of altmetrics. Not to be discounted yet.
  • University of Leicester have bought the enhanced version of altmetrics to have access to the institutional dashboard so they can see everything.
  • Sign up for a free ORCID id, this helps avoid confusion with authors of similar names. Many publishers insist on you having one when submitting.
  • BASE – is a search engine for ‘author approved manuscripts’ that are increasingly deposited in Institutional Repositories and are Open Access Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
  • OA articles downloaded 89% more.


Research data

  • Funders and publishers are demanding transparency, replication and reuse of research. Can others do something interesting with your data.
  • Think beyond numbers on a spreadsheet. Some data may still be handwritten notes. Field notes and diaries that may need to be digitised. Not always what we traditionally think of as data.
  • Peer reviewers may ask to see published data alongside a submitted paper.
  • Supplementary material is no longer enough, need to see the data behind the findings.
  • Sensitive data should not be shared, but the default should be to make it open where possible. The fact that anonymisation takes time and effort is not a good enough reason to keep data closed.
  • Your research output has to have a persistent identifiers, a DOI, then it can be found and used. The date should also have metadata to enable other people to make sense of it.
  • Data Repositories are often available within institutions, or there may be a disciple specific repository e.g. Genetics. Figshare and Zenodo are alternatives.
  • Data will be the next big thing for open. RCUK expect researchers to do everything possible to make their data available if funded.
  • Horizon 2020 is an EU funder who support open access and say that data is as important as publications for societal benefit.
  • Collaboration of data from studies during the Zika epidemic had a huge benefit for society.