A new study away opportunity for student-athletes will be offered this year as a Maymester course in Los Angeles. The course, Networking and the Art of the Pitch, was developed by Rachel Dubrofsky, chair of communication and rhetorical studies (CRS)…
Syracuse Libraries Supporting the Faculty Tenure and Promotion Process
Since 2020, the Research Impact Team at Syracuse University Libraries has been making great strides toward improving the research reputation of Syracuse University and supporting its research enterprise. One use case is helping faculty prepare for the tenure and promotion process by telling their research story using data from large literature databases like Scopus. There are several ways Libraries liaisons and Research Impact Team (RIT) members interact with these faculty:
Option 1: Early in the process:
If the faculty member comes to the Libraries a year or two before they go up for tenure and promotion, they can benchmark how their publications are being received by looking at their citations in Scopus. Then, based on what Libraries finds, team members can ask questions like ‘have you put your preprint out and do you have an open-access version of your article available?’ Librarians can also check whether the faculty member has put a copy in the University’s institutional repository and whether they have shared their datasets. The RIT is looking to identify how faculty can increase their reach so that they gain more visibility. Reviewing and refining their researcher profiles is a part of this preparation too, as is ensuring that all their relevant publications are discoverable in large literature databases.
Option 2: With the deadline looming:
Factoring in lead time is important. Librarians do not just pull Scopus data and hand it to the faculty member; they look at all of the relevant databases and journals for the faculty member’s field and give them a variety of statistics along with some context. For example, librarians will explain a metric like the journal CiteScore, including what it is and why it’s relevant while discussing its benefits or limitations. It is always important that librarians pull data from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive and balanced picture of the faculty member’s performance.
One of the metrics that RIT shares with candidates is total citations for their publications, pulling total citations with the option to exclude self-citations, so citations to their own works are removed. They also look at journal metrics. Sometimes, they work with faculty who are new in their field, and their publications may not have had time to accumulate citations, so they highlight the impact of the journals in which they were published.
One of the preferred journal metrics is SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) in Scopus, which normalizes for citation trends in a particular field. It is a great way to contextualize that journal’s performance in comparison to other journals within their discipline and across other fields. They also like to use Scopus’ CiteScore Rank and CiteScore Trend metrics, which indicate the standing or rank of a title compared to other journals in the same field. They give you both a percentage and a number, which makes comparisons easier to interpret. So, for example, in the field of psychology, the team can see that a particular journal was ranked 10th out of 100, meaning that journal was in the 90th percentile of successful journals in that field.
RIT also looks at the number of a researcher’s co-authors who have a non-Syracuse University affiliation or who work in another department/field on campus. This helps the researcher to show that they are collaborative, or that their work might be interdisciplinary. This statistic can be pulled from Scopus and Pure. Scopus’ Topics of Prominence—collections of documents with a common intellectual interest—can help the researcher show the areas they are influential in, or that they are publishing in a topic area or field that is currently trending.
Libraries often work with alternative metrics, also known as altmetrics, which look beyond traditional publication and citation counts to consider how people are interacting with individual research outputs. The altmetrics tool included in Scopus is PlumX. It can be important for early career researchers because it shows the immediate attention their work is receiving, whereas citations take a while to accumulate. It includes things like the number of downloads, how many times the article was mentioned in the news, whether their work has been picked up on Twitter and more.
For more information or to inquire about support from the Research Impact Team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Emily Hart, liaison librarian and research impact lead at Syracuse University Libraries