How to take an evidence-based approach to building a scholarly community

International research collaboration is critical to scientific discovery. Just as the research landscape grows in complexity, the landscape of collaboration continuously changes, making it more challenging to track progress.

At the University of South Florida (USF), the fastest rising university in the U.S. News & World Report’s U.S. rankings, maintaining the pace of global engagement, high-impact research and innovation is supported with a metrics dashboard that informs strategic planning and provides ongoing insight into the university’s international activity.

The University of South Florida defines itself as a ‘global’ university and has the research metrics to back it up: in 2021, 60% of all USF citations involved an international collaborator. To support the continuation of high-impact, global research USF World – the USF unit that leads globalization efforts for students, faculty and alumni – set ambitious goals aligned to the university’s strategic plan. Among the goals is “To conduct high-impact research and innovation to advance frontiers of knowledge, solve global problems and improve lives.”

Defining global engagement with data

Laurel Thomas, International Research & Global Engagement Data Manager at USF World, supports the unit and university goal by providing access to international research data. As the data expert, Thomas needed to build a bridge between the USF moniker “global” and the data that illustrates USF’s global engagement. To address this gap Thomas led a data discovery project.

While every institution is unique, the process Thomas used can be replicated at other universities trying to understand their own research landscape:

  • Know your department’s role and needs.
  • Identify the data available and the data you need to find.
  • Determine where your resources are, including people, software and subscriptions.
  • Plan how to bring the data together.

The team at USF World had data about the international activities of students, partners and Fulbright Scholars but little visibility into faculty activity.

Gaining insight into faculty activity

Collaborating with Clarivate™, Thomas brought in the important insights and analytics about faculty activity needed to present a comprehensive picture of international research activity and impact. Bibliometric data from Web of Science™ served as a proxy for faculty research data. Adding InCites™ provided better metrics and benchmarking against peers.

After the data sources were identified Thomas brought them together into a centralized database.

Today the USF Global Discovery Hub uses the data for dashboards with visualizations on faculty engagement worldwide, global student mobility, international partnerships and more. The Global Discovery Hub informs strategic planning and, importantly, highlights the faculty and researchers making a difference. Now Thomas has a tool to illustrate the impact of international research collaboration which she showcases in an annual report.

Thomas shared advice to help other institutions successfully undertake a similar project:

  • Get the word out and share the benefits of a centralized database through collaboration with units across the institution.
  • Run and save reports for frequently requested data and insights.
  • Maintain easy access to insightful reports. They are key to gaining and maintaining support for the database.

A centralized database and dashboard support planning and funding allocations. With reporting on hand, units can engage in cooperative, strategic decision-making based on the latest data. Reports uncover new areas for partnership, how a program contributes to the metrics and more.

How we help

The bibliometrics from InCites and Web of Science are an integral part of the Global Discovery Hub and allow Thomas and the USF World team to understand the position of the university in relation to global research activity, identify new research opportunities and reveal the positive impact of global researcher engagement.

Partner with Clarivate analytics solutions and expert teams at your institution to:

  • detect emerging trends,
  • collect researcher activity data at scale,
  • select the right indicators for benchmarking and evaluation,
  • collate evidence of the broader, real-world outcomes of research.

Read the full case study and watch the webinar to learn more about how Laurel Thomas used Web of Science and InCites to identify, evaluate and benchmark key insights for successful international collaborations.