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.

Writing Club for May: Measuring the impact of your research

We welcome Laurian Williamson, Open Access and Research Data Manager at the University of Leicester.   Laurian will speak about measuring and increasing the impact of your research outputs, whether publications or research data.

How can you promote your work effectively?    How can you measure current reach and impact?    How can you increase that impact?

Laurian will talk about:

  • Citations, citation counts and citation indexes
  • Journal metrics and author metrics
  • Altmetrics
  • New metrics, for research data metrics

May’s Writing Club will be on Tuesday 16th May, from 1 pm to 2 pm, in the Odames Meeting Room, Odames Library, Victoria Building, LRI.

All UHL staff welcome.   To book a free place, please ring the Clinical Librarians on 5558 or email

More about predatory journals

Some recent interesting reading about this subject.

The Times Higher Education blog has just published a piece by researchers from the Centre for Journalology in Ottawa, on how to spot a “predatory” journal. It has some interesting things to say about the now defunct Beall’s List and presents a checklist of 13 warning signs to help you detect an “illegitimate publishing entity” (their preferred term).

A recent Minerva column in the BMJ refers to a study reported in Nature, in which a Dr Anna O. Szust applied to a large number of “predatory” journals asking to be an editor.    48 out of the 360 accepted her and 4 of those made her editor in chief.   Polish speakers among you (sadly I am not one) will spot that oszust means “fraud”.

The New York Times covered this story.    Minerva also refers to a study in BMC Medicine, involving the two THE blog authors, on how to tell the difference between a predatory and a legitimate biomedical journal.


Language and style

It seems easy to find articles about how to structure an article, but less easy to find things about good use of language in general.   Here are a few things that might help with academic or scientific writing, including choice of words, writing well-structured sentences and paragraphs, and grammar.


Scitable: English Communication for Scientists.  Has a section about writing scientific papers, but also general information on communicating as a scientist and sections on oral presentations and interacting at conferences.  Click Table of Contents to see everything.

EASE Toolkit for Authors.  “Guidelines and resources for scientific writing and publishing…” from the European Association of Science Editors.

Writing for publication: an easy to follow guide for nurses interested in publishing their work. [Internet].: Wiley; 2014 [cited 16th March 2017]. Available from:

Higher Education Academy.  Effective research writing: STEM discipline. [Internet].: Higher Education Academy; 2013 [cited 16th March 2017]. Available from:


These may need a subscription or access through your library:

Bain BJ, Littlewood TJ, Szydlo RM. The finer points of writing and refereeing scientific articles. Br J Haematol. 2016 Feb;172(3):350-9.

Dixon N. Writing for publication–a guide for new authors. Int J Qual Health Care. 2001 Oct;13(5):417-21.

Fahy K. Writing for publication: argument and evidence. Women Birth. 2008 Sep;21(3):113-7.

Fahy K. Writing for publication: the basics. Women Birth. 2008 Jun;21(2):86-91.

Ridgway G. Writing for publication and avoiding pitfalls. Clin Teach. 2015 Apr;12(2):73-7.

A book

Hall GM. How to write a paper. 5th ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell/BMJ Books; 2013.

which has a chapter on style, or at books about academic writing, study skills or doing a research project.

Informal peer review

The February meeting of the Writing Club will be an informal peer review session.  Bring something you have written, perhaps something you would like to get published.   Others at the meeting will give you feedback on it.    We will have a peer review checklist to hand, and look at what is involved in peer review.    And you will be able to review others’ work.

The meeting is from 1pm to 2pm on Thursday 23rd February, and will be in the Stanley Tipton Room, Clinical Education Centre, Jarvis Building at the LRI.   Please note venue, which is not our usual one.