JUNE 2023

Unpacking research profiles: Moving beyond metrics

This is the second report from the Institute for Scientific Information on the value of shifting from simple metrics of research activity and performance to visually more informative profiles. These profiles help us understand what is going on in research and so enable better policy and management decision making. We focus on four key indicators at researcher, journal, institutional and research field levels.

Visualization of the publication and citation data ‘unpacks’ the information that is lost when an ‘average’ or other single-point metric is used as a summary. It can reveal new information, point to important additional questions, demonstrate the reasons for an unexpected outcome, and assist in next steps for planning and investment by improving user knowledge.


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