Scientific research seeks answers to questions large and small – from the composition of atoms to the age of the universe. While scientists, funders and institutions may value research for its own sake, they are practical, too. The answers that research yields can lead to professional advancement, and sometimes, to commercial success. In addition, scholarly authors seek reliable measurements of the impact their work has in the wider world. Over the last several years, in fact, the rise of Web publishing and the accompanying proliferation of data has spawned an explosion in the metrics population.
Prof. Cassidy Rose Sugimoto devotes her research to the domain of scholarly communication and scientometrics, examining the formal and informal ways in which knowledge producers consume and disseminate scholarship. She tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally that the “impact” of research now reaches far afield from the campus and the laboratory. Moving beyond “impact factor,” researchers increasingly see themselves in a social media context, through the lens of “engagement.”
On the faculty at the Indiana University, Bloomington, Prof. Sugimoto has presented at numerous conferences and has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the Sloan Foundation, among other agencies. In April, she spoke at the annual US conference of STM, a global trade association for academic and professional publishers, about the proliferation, reliability and validity of so-called alternative metrics.