An International Perspective on Research Impact from Our Visiting Librarian

By Hualing Xie, Visiting Librarian at Texas Tech University Libraries

My name is Hualing Xie, I come from Beijing, the capital of China. I am a librarian at National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSLC) which is the public library service system of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) as well as the National Library of Sciences in Chinese National Science and Technology Libraries (NSTL) system. Under a Board of Trustees appointed by CAS, NSLC consists of a Main Library (based in Beijing, formerly the Library of CAS) and two branch libraries, respectively Chengdu Branch Library, and Wuhan Branch Library. NSLC also co-operates, together with selected CAS research institutes, a number of special branch libraries whom will provide specialized information resources and services.

There are several departments in the Main Library and I work in the department of Information Analysis. The goals of my department is to help improving policy and decision-making of CAS and related institutions in China. Our missions include but are not limited to: keep track of the new ideas, concepts, insights and strategies of important international organizations and dominant countries on Sci-Tech development and Socio-Economic development, analyze the critical trends, main plans, key technologies, significant polices and competition situations in selected fields, conduct research in comparing the competing pattern of international and domestic research units, and evaluate Sci-Tech policies, structure and layout for decision-making and planning for CAS and the country.

Recently, I was a visiting scholar at Texas Tech University Libraries for six months from December 10, 2016 to June 8, 2017. During this period, I have been observing Essentials of Scholarly Research and the library departments of Communications and Marketing; Research, Instruction & Outreach; and Document Delivery.

During my stay in department of Scholarly Publishing, I learned more about ORCID and studied a new kind Altmetrics tool – PlumX. ORCID was founded in 2012 as a non-profit organization comprised of publishers, funders, and institutions. ORCID IDs are permanent identifiers for researchers which can be used to distinguish between authors with same name and help manage their publications. PlumX is a subscription-based platform for tracking research impact. PlumX gathers and brings together appropriate metrics for all types of scholarly research output. They categorize metrics into 5 separate types: Usage, Captures, Mentions, Social Media, and Citations. Both of them are very interesting tools and are very useful tools for researchers and faculty.

In my library, the NSLC, there is a research program named iAuthor in the department of Resources Construction. This program was launched in 2014 and it was used to create researchers’ permanent home pages and manage their publications and personal information. The research group of iAuthor collaborated with the ORCID organization in 2015, through register iAuthor researchers can be given their own ORCID IDs. And all the information and publications between iAuthor and ORCID can be synchronized. So, generally, iAuthor is a registration tool for ORCID IDs for Chinese researchers. Now, in China, more than 52,500 researchers have received their ORCID IDs through registering with iAuthor. Most of them are researchers from CAS. CAS has more than one hundred of research institutions and there are a large number of researchers and students, we use the same email system as TTU. The research group of iAuthor automatically registers the iAuthor accounts for all researchers and students of CAS using our email. After registration, the system will send the account information to our email, we just need to activate the account and change the password; Then, we can log in the iAuthor, check our ORCID ID, complete our personal information and add our publications. I think this is a very efficient promotion method.

However, we still use traditional bibliometrics to evaluate the research impact of researchers or institutions in China, like citations from Web of Science or Scopus. Most of the time we don’t accept the citations from Google Scholar. Some Chinese researchers or experts have introduced the advantages of the PlumX or other Altmetrics methods as new evaluation method or the complementary of the traditional evaluation method, but these new concepts have not been widely accepted. But with the development of Altmetrics, Social Media and Open Access, I think the methods used to evaluate outputs will vary.

The Scholarly Publishing Librarian, Camille Thomas, of Texas Tech University Libraries did a great job on PlumX, ORCID and the Scholarly Communication Workshops. Also, she and her department Research, Instruction & Outreach help me a lot when I am studying and observing with them. I appreciate everything. When I return to China, I will be very glad to introduce PlumX and other advanced tools and services to my library.  I hope the Texas Tech University Libraries and the National Science Library will continue to stay in contact with each other and have more opportunities for exchanging and visiting.

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