For better insights, assess research performance at the department level

Three ways Clarivate is closing information gaps and establishing reliable data for improved decision-making

To win more funding and plan a course for the future, institutions need to understand how their research programs currently perform. According to a 2023 survey of research office staff, the metrics most often relied upon for assessment are published research and citation impact of published research.

For many institutions, this bibliometric data must be reported at the department level to be actionable. Why? Department-level data drives greater understanding of individual researchers and how they fit into the larger group, enabling meaningful conversations about collective strategy and individual career planning. Further, this data can serve as an indicator of internal collaboration between departments, driving insights that generate efficiencies and lead to increased cross-disciplinary activity.

While department data is valuable to decision-makers, collecting it is challenging. Keep reading to learn about:

The challenge: multiple sources of partial truth

A barrier to analyzing bibliometrics at the department level stems from the literature itself: authors do not always note their department as part of their affiliation. Web of Science Core Collection™ data show that in 50% of papers attributed to 17,000 institutions, the author’s department is simply missing. This means data needs to be collected and validated in other ways, relying on researchers to update information in multiple locations and systems. Consider a common situation in universities: different areas of the institution holding and managing similar data, but for different purposes. Different purposes can mean that elements of the data vary and can result in inconsistencies.

Over several decades, organizations have developed tools and software to help manage this data.

  • ResearcherID launched in 2008 to address the issue of author identification and disambiguation by providing a persistent and unique identifier for researchers. For the first time, researchers could accurately associate their work with a universal ID. The ResearcherID identifier now underpins Web of Science Researcher Profiles , which help researchers share a complete view of their achievements and raise their visibility in the worldwide research community. While profiles offer several automatic update options, some manual maintenance is still required to ensure that a profile is accurate and complete.
  • ResearcherID code provided the foundation for ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), which offers the research community a persistent identifier service backed by a not-for-profit organization. While ORCID facilitates interoperability between different systems, platforms and databases, including syncing with Web of Science Researcher Profiles, the record owner’s permission is required to make updates, which can cause inefficiencies when keeping all affiliations current.
  • CRIS (Current Research Information Systems) are intended to collect, store, track and organize data on research projects, publications, funding and the researchers themselves. The success of a CRIS depends on a precise, sometimes lengthy implementation process which can be a hurdle for institutions with limited resources.

Toward more comprehensive solutions

Working with our community of academic leaders, libraries and system providers, we continue to develop and enhance automated and reliable systems for research and profile management that enable analyses at multiple levels, including the department level. Via solutions such as Web of Science™, Esploro™ and InCites Benchmarking & Analytics™ , institutions can overcome traditional challenges and build a foundation for better decision-making.

We help institutions gain deeper insights through:

Standardized naming

Clarivate uses a proprietary algorithm along with expert editorial interventions to standardize organization names, enabling users to find and analyze the complete output of an institution. We applied that process to standardize names of units within the institutions and in August 2023, released department affiliation data for 25 million Web of Science Core Collection records. There’s more to come as we unify department data with an ever-increasing number of records. Collaboration is key and we encourage institutions to submit changes and corrections.

As of March 2024, this data is included in InCites Benchmarking & Analytics so that institutions can identify top researchers within specific departments, conduct comparisons against peers at the department level and foster collaborations. Additional development will follow, including improved analytics capabilities and a prebuilt Department Report.

Power for campus-wide data capture

The problem of multiple stakeholders holding the same data in various systems can be addressed with Esploro Research Portal and Profiles. Esploro automatically captures publications using its Author Matching AI algorithm, connecting information gathered from repositories, Ex Libris™ CDI, and ORCID across all disciplines. Esploro reduces manual data entry and increases accuracy by linking department affiliation to each publication, enabling analysis at this level.

For Southern Cross University, Esploro became a singular research portal, removing duplicative efforts between the Office of Research and Library. Margaret Pembroke, Library Systems, says “[With Esploro] we are taking the manual labor out of the process to save researchers’ time, save the Library’s time and save the Office of Research’s time. Then, we share a clean, accurate data set with everything they need for reporting to funders, or any other reporting.”

Accommodating organizational dynamics

Precisely analyzing an institution’s faculty and researchers in alignment with current organizational structures can be accomplished by using My Organization, an integrated module within InCites Benchmarking & Analytics. My Organization is customized to deliver standardized citation reporting for an institution, at virtually any level.

Further integration allows profile data from Pivot-RP™ or the organizational structure from Esploro to be uploaded into My Organization to save time and effort, plus establish consistency between systems.

Building a foundation for better decision-making

Published research serves as a key data point for performance measurement for a reason: it’s an objective way to benchmark against peers and track progress toward goals. The challenges of delivering the clean and accurate data needed to make bibliometrics actionable are being tackled as processes become automated and resources integrate, creating greater consistency.

At Clarivate, we are committed to continuing this journey, identifying and resolving data problems so that published research can remain a reliable and insightful measurement. By working with the broader academic community, we are continually improving analytics capabilities at all levels and building a foundation for better decision-making.

Contact us to get started with InCites, My Organization or Esploro.