Google Scholar profiles of Dutch Universities

Early July I checked the Google Scholar uptake at Dutch Universities. Whilst collecting the data I also noted the total number of citations for each tenth scientist with a Google Scholar profile per university. To make sense of the results I plotted them as logarithmic values against rank number of the researcher when ordered on descending total number of citations.

Total number of citations per researcher according to Google Scholar
Total number of citations per researcher according to Google Scholar

Due to the uneven uptake of Google Scholar profiles per university it is too early to draw any firm conclusions on these profiles. But at face values three groups can be distinguished: Delft, Utrecht, Wageningen, UvA, RUG and VU showing very similar profiles. The middle group with Twente, Radboud Nijmegen, Eindhoven, Erasmus Rotterdam and Leiden University. Maastricht, Tilburg and the Open University close the ranks.

Looking carefully at the leading group. Utrecht has the most researchers high number of tatal citations. Wageningen takes over from around the total citations of 500 per researchers and Delft from around 150 total citations per researcher.

I can imagine when Google Scholar profiles become more established, these kind of graphs can be used in yeat another university ranking. The number of total citations under the graphs gives some indication of the publication success of the university staff at those universities.

Full data set is available at:

The week in review – week 4

The week in review, a new attempt to get some life back into this weblog. It is inspired of course (for the Dutch readers) on TWIT The Week In Tweets by colleague @UBABert and the older monthly overviews which Deet’jes used to do on

The new Web of Science interface
Whilst I was in Kenya the previous week to give training for PhD students and staff at Kenyatta University and the University of Nairobi, Thomson Reuters released their new version of the Web of Science. So only this week I had a first go at it. We haven’t been connected to Google Scholar yet, still waiting to see that come through, but in general the new interface is an improvement over the old one. Albeit, searching for authors is still broken for those who haven’t claimed their ResearcherID. But apart from that, what I hadn’t noticed in the demo versions of the new interface is the new Open Access facet in Web of Science. I like it. But immediately the question arises how do they do it jumps to my mind. The is no information in the help files on this new possibility. So my first guess would be the DOAJ list of journals. Through a message on the Sigmetrics list a little more confusion was added, since various PLoS journals are included in their ‘Open Access Journal Title List’, but for PLoS ONE. Actual searches in Web of Science quickly illustrate that for almost any topic in the past view years PLoS ONE is the largest OA journal responsible for content within this Open Access facet. I guess this new facet in Web of Science will spark some more research in the near future. I see the practical approach of Web of Science as a first step in the right direction. The next challenge is of course to indicate the individual Open Access articles in hybrid journals. Followed by -and this will be a real challenge- green archived copies of Toll Access articles. The latter is badly needed since we can’t rely only on Google Scholar to do this for us.

Two interesting articles in the unfolding field of Altmetrics deserve mention. The groups of Judit Barr-Ilan and Mike Thelwall cooperated in “Do blog citations correlate with a higher number of future citations? Research blogs as a potential source for alternative metrics” . They show that Research Blogging is a good post peer review blogging platform able to pick the better cited articles. However, the number of articles covered by the platform is really too small to be meaningful to become a widely used altmetric indicator.
The other article, at the moment still a working paper, was from CWTS (Costas et al. 2014). They combined Web of Science covered articles with the indicators and investigated many different Altmetric indicators such as as mentions on Facebook walls, Blogs, Twitter, Google+ and News outlets but not Mendeley. Twitter is by far the most abundant Altmetric source in this study, but blogs are in a better position to identify top publications. However the main problem remains the limited coverage by the various altmetrics tools. For 2012 24% of the publications had an altmetric mention, but already 26% of the publications had scored already a citations. Thus confirming the other study that coverage of the peer reviewed scholarly output is only covered on a limited scale by social media tools.

Scholarly Communication
As a follow up on my previous post on the five stars of transparent pre-publication peer review, a few articles on peer review came to my attention. The first was, yet another, excellent bibliography by Charles W. Bailey Jr. on transforming peer review. He did not cover blogposts, only peer reviewed journals. The contributions to this field are published in many different journals, so an overview like this still has its merits.
Through a tweet from @Mfenner

I was notified on a really interesting book ‘Opening Science‘. It is still lacking a chapter on changes in the peer review system, but it is really strong at indicating new trends in Scholarly Communication and Publishing. Worth further perusing. Rankings Although the ranking season has not started yet. The rankers are always keen of putting old wine in new bags. The Times Higher Education presented this week the 25 most international universities in the world. It is based the THE WUR, released last year, this time only focusing on the ‘international outlook indicator’only which accounts for 7.5% of their standard ranking. Of the Dutch universities Maastricht does well. Despite the fact that Wageningen university host students from more than 150 countries, we only ranked 45th on this indicator. More interesting was an article of Alter and Reback (2014) where they show that rankings actually influence the number of freshman applying for a college in the United States as well as the fact that quality of college life plays an important factor as well. So it makes sense for universities to invest in campus facilities and recreation possibilities such as sports grounds etc. Random notes A study on copy rights, database rights and IPR in Europe for Europeana by Guibault. Too much to read at once, and far too difficult to comprehend at once. But essential reading for repository managers.


Alter, M., and R. Reback. 2014. True for Your School? How Changing Reputations Alter Demand for Selective U.S. Colleges. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. (Free access)
Bailey Jr., C. W. 2014. Transforming Peer Review Bibliography. Available from
Binfield, P. 2014. Novel Scholarly Journal Concepts. In: Opening Science, edited by Sönke Bartling and Sascha Friesike, 155-163. Springer International Publishing. OA version:
Costas, R., Z. Zahedi, and P. Wouters. 2014. Do ‘altmetrics’ correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective. CWTS Working Paper Series Vol. CWTS-WP-2014-001. Leiden: CWTS. 30 pp.
Guibault, L., and A. Wiebe. 2013. Safe to be open : Study on the protection of research data and recommendation for access and usage. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen 167 pp.
Shema, H., J. Bar-Ilan, and M. Thelwall. 2014. Do blog citations correlate with a higher number of future citations? Research blogs as a potential source for alternative metrics. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology: n/a-n/a. OA version:

Scimago rankings 2011 released

Today Félix de Moya Anegón announced on twitter  that the Scimago Institutional rankings (SIR) for 2011 were released. These rankings are not very well known or widely used. Yesterday during a ranking masterclass from the Dutch Association for Institutional Research the SIR was not even mentioned. Undeservedly so. Scimago lists just over 3000 institutions worldwide. It is therefore one of the most comprehensive institutional ranking. If not the most. It is also a very clear ranking they only measure publication output and impact. It thus ranks only research performance of the institutions and therefore very similar to the Leiden ranking.

What I like about Scimago, is their innovative indicators, they come up with each year. Last year they introduced the %Q1 parameter. Which is the ratio of publications that an institution publishes in the most influential scholarly journals of the world. Journals considered for this indicator are those ranked in  the first quartile (25%) in their categories as ordered by SCImago Journal Rank SJR indicator. This year they introduced the Excellence Rate. The Excellence Rate indicates which percentage of an institution’s scientific output is included into the set formed by the 10% of the most cited papers in their respective scientific fields. It is a measure of high quality output of research institutions. Very similar indicators, the excellence indicator is just a tougher version of the %Q1.

The other new indicator is the specialization index. The Specialization Index indicates the extent of thematic concentration / dispersion of an institution’s scientific output. Values range between 0 to 1, indicating generalistic vs. specialized institutions respectively.

Their most important indicator to express research performance is their Normalized Impact (NI). Which is similar to the MNCS of the CWTS and RI as we calculate in Wageningen. The values, expressed in percentages, show the relationship of an institution’s average scientific impact and the world average, which is 1, –i.e. a score of 0.8 means the institution is cited 20% below average and 1.3 means the institution is cited 30% above average.

Last year the the Scimago team showed already that there is exist an exponential relationship between the ability an institution has to lead its scientific papers to better journals (%Q1) and the average impact achieved by its production in terms of Normalized Impact. It is a relationship I always show in classes on publications strategy (slides 15 and 16). When looking at the Dutch universities, I noted that the correlation between the new excellence indicator and normalized impact is even better than with the %Q1. So the pressure to publish in the absolute top journal per research field will even further increase if this become general knowledge.

What do we learn for the Dutch universities from the Scimago rankings. Rotterdam still maintains its top position for normalized impact, it scores also best for the %Q1 and Exc. Direct after Rotterdam you Leiden, UvA, VU, Utrecht and Radboud with equal impact. Utrecht has published the most articles during the period 2005-2009. Wageningen excels at international cooperation. And both Tilburg and Wageningen are the most specialized universities in the Netherlands.

Making these international rankings is quite a daunting task. For the Netherlands I noticed that the output of Nijmegen was distributed over Radboud University and Radboud University and Nijmegen Medical Centre, this was not done for the other university hospitals.  And for Wageningen the output was noted under Wageningen University and Research Centre and Plant Research International (which is part of Wageningen UR). But for researchers from Spain these are difficult nuances to resolve 100% perfectly.

My only real complaint with the ranking is the fact that they state it is not a league table, and they rank the institutions on publication output. It is so much more obvious to present the list ranked on NI. Since they only produce the ranking as a PDF file, it took me a couple of hours to translate it into an excel spreadsheet and rank the data any way I wish. With all the information at hand it is also possible design your own indicators, such as a power rank in analogy of the Leiden rankings.

The message to my researchers: aim for the best journals in you field. We still have scope for improvement. We are still not in the neighbourhood of the 30 to 40% Exc. Rate we see for Rockkefeller, Harvard and the like.

Top science countries

In cites just published an overview of the top ranking countries for science over all fields. The report is based on the Essential Science Indicators it is therefore based on the past 10 years of publication and citation data collected from the Thomson ISI covered journals.

The first two tables rank the countries by accumulated citations and published papers. Most interesting however is the third table in which the countries are ranked on citations per paper. After omitting the smallest countries from that list we see that Switzerland (14.32 cpp) is leading the list followed by USA, Denmark and Netherlands just in the 4th postion with 12.85 cpp. Scotland, Sweden England, Finland, Canada and Belgium complete the top 10.