• Gender differences in research areas, methods and topics: Can people and thing orientations explain the results?

      Thelwall, Mike; Bailey, Carol; Tobin, Catherine; Bradshaw, Noel-Ann (Elsevier, 2019-12-31)
      Although the gender gap in academia has narrowed, females are underrepresented within some fields in the USA. Prior research suggests that the imbalances between science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields may be partly due to greater male interest in things and greater female interest in people, or to off-putting masculine cultures in some disciplines. To seek more detailed insights across all subjects, this article compares practising US male and female researchers between and within 285 narrow Scopus fields inside 26 broad fields from their first-authored articles published in 2017. The comparison is based on publishing fields and the words used in article titles, abstracts, and keywords. The results cannot be fully explained by the people/thing dimensions. Exceptions include greater female interest in veterinary science and cell biology and greater male interest in abstraction, patients, and power/control fields, such as politics and law. These may be due to other factors, such as the ability of a career to provide status or social impact or the availability of alternative careers. As a possible side effect of the partial people/thing relationship, females are more likely to use exploratory and qualitative methods and males are more likely to use quantitative methods. The results suggest that the necessary steps of eliminating explicit and implicit gender bias in academia are insufficient and might be complemented by measures to make fields more attractive to minority genders.
    • Assessing the teaching value of non-English academic books: The case of Spain

      Mas Bleda, Amalia; Thelwall, Mike (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2018-12-01)
    • Do prestigious Spanish scholarly book publishers have more teaching impact?

      Mas-Bleda, Amalia; Thelwall, Mike (Emerald Publishing Limited, 2018-10-10)
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to assess the educational value of prestigious and productive Spanish scholarly publishers based on mentions of their books in online scholarly syllabi. Design/methodology/approach Syllabus mentions of 15,117 books from 27 publishers were searched for, manually checked and compared with Microsoft Academic (MA) citations. Findings Most books published by Ariel, Síntesis, Tecnos and Cátedra have been mentioned in at least one online syllabus, indicating that their books have consistently high educational value. In contrast, few books published by the most productive publishers were mentioned in online syllabi. Prestigious publishers have both the highest educational impact based on syllabus mentions and the highest research impact based on MA citations. Research limitations/implications The results might be different for other publishers. The online syllabus mentions found may be a small fraction of the syllabus mentions of the sampled books. Practical implications Authors of Spanish-language social sciences and humanities books should consider general prestige when selecting a publisher if they want educational uptake for their work. Originality/value This is the first study assessing book publishers based on syllabus mentions.
    • Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus: a systematic comparison of citations in 252 subject categories

      Martín-Martín, Alberto; Orduna-Malea, Enrique; Thelwall, Mike; Delgado López-Cózar, Emilio (Elsevier, 2018-10-05)
      Despite citation counts from Google Scholar (GS), Web of Science (WoS), and Scopus being widely consulted by researchers and sometimes used in research evaluations, there is no recent or systematic evidence about the differences between them. In response, this paper investigates 2,448,055 citations to 2299 English-language highly-cited documents from 252 GS subject categories published in 2006, comparing GS, the WoS Core Collection, and Scopus. GS consistently found the largest percentage of citations across all areas (93%–96%), far ahead of Scopus (35%–77%) and WoS (27%–73%). GS found nearly all the WoS (95%) and Scopus (92%) citations. Most citations found only by GS were from non-journal sources (48%–65%), including theses, books, conference papers, and unpublished materials. Many were non-English (19%–38%), and they tended to be much less cited than citing sources that were also in Scopus or WoS. Despite the many unique GS citing sources, Spearman correlations between citation counts in GS and WoS or Scopus are high (0.78-0.99). They are lower in the Humanities, and lower between GS and WoS than between GS and Scopus. The results suggest that in all areas GS citation data is essentially a superset of WoS and Scopus, with substantial extra coverage.
    • Does female-authored research have more educational impact than male-authored research?

      Thelwall, Mike (Levy Library Press, 2018-10-04)
      Female academics are more likely to be in teaching-related roles in some countries, including the USA. As a side effect of this, female-authored journal articles may tend to be more useful for students. This study assesses this hypothesis by investigating whether female first-authored research has more uptake in education than male first-authored research. Based on an analysis of Mendeley readers of articles from 2014 in five countries and 100 narrow Scopus subject categories, the results show that female-authored articles attract more student readers than male-authored articles in Spain, Turkey, the UK and USA but not India. They also attract fewer professorial readers in Spain, the UK and the USA, but not India and Turkey, and tend to be less popular with senior academics. Because the results are based on analysis of differences within narrow fields they cannot be accounted for by females working in more education-related disciplines. The apparent additional educational impact for female-authored research could be due to selecting more accessible micro-specialisms, however, such as health-related instruments within the instrumentation narrow field. Whatever the cause, the results suggest that citation-based research evaluations may undervalue the wider impact of female researchers.
    • Do gendered citation advantages influence field participation? Four unusual fields in the USA 1996-2017

      Thelwall, Mike (Springer, 2018-09-29)
      Gender inequalities in science are an ongoing concern, but their current causes are not well understood. This article investigates four fields with unusual proportions of female researchers in the USA for their subject matter, according to some current theories. It assesses how their gender composition and gender differences in citation rates have changed over time. All fields increased their share of female first-authored research, but at varying rates. The results give no evidence of the importance of citations, despite their unusual gender characteristics. For example, the field with the highest share of female-authored research and the most rapid increase had the largest male citation advantage. Differing micro-specialisms seems more likely than bias to be a cause of gender differences in citation rates, when present.
    • Do females create higher impact research? Scopus citations and Mendeley readers for articles from five countries

      Thelwall, Mike (Elsevier, 2018-09-01)
      There are known gender imbalances in participation in scientific fields, from female dominance of nursing to male dominance of mathematics. It is not clear whether there is also a citation imbalance, with some claiming that male-authored research tends to be more cited. No previous study has assessed gender differences in the readers of academic research on a large scale, however. In response, this article assesses whether there are gender differences in the average citations and/or Mendeley readers of academic publications. Field normalised logged Scopus citations and Mendeley readers from mid-2018 for articles published in 2014 were investigated for articles with first authors from India, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the USA in up to 251 fields with at least 50 male and female authors. Although female-authored research is less cited in Turkey (−4.0%) and India (−3.6%), it is marginally more cited in Spain (0.4%), the UK (0.4%), and the USA (0.2%). Female-authored research has fewer Mendeley readers in India (−1.1%) but more in Spain (1.4%), Turkey (1.1%), the UK (2.7%) and the USA (3.0%). Thus, whilst there may be little practical gender difference in citation impact in countries with mature science systems, the higher female readership impact suggests a wider audience for female-authored research. The results also show that the conclusions from a gender analysis depend on the field normalisation method. A theoretically informed decision must therefore be made about which normalisation to use. The results also suggest that arithmetic mean-based field normalisation is favourable to males.
    • Are Mendeley Reader Counts Useful Impact Indicators in all Fields?

      Thelwall, Mike (Springer, 2018-08)
      Reader counts from the social reference sharing site Mendeley are known to be valuable for early research evaluation. They have strong correlations with citation counts for journal articles but appear about a year before them. There are disciplinary differences in the value of Mendeley reader counts but systematic evidence is needed at the level of narrow fields to reveal its extent. In response, this article compares Mendeley reader counts with Scopus citation counts for journal articles from 2012 in 325 narrow Scopus fields. Despite strong positive correlations in most fields, averaging 0.671, the correlations in some fields are as weak as 0.255. Technical reasons explain most weaker correlations, suggesting that the underlying relationship is almost always strong. The exceptions are caused by unusually high educational or professional use or topics of interest within countries that avoid Mendeley. The findings suggest that if care is taken then Mendeley reader counts can be used for early citation impact evidence in almost all fields and for related impact in some of the remainder. As an additional application of the results, cross-checking with Mendeley data can be used to identify indexing anomalies in citation databases.
    • Dimensions: A Competitor to Scopus and the Web of Science?

      Thelwall, Mike (Elsevier, 2018-08)
      Dimensions is a partly free scholarly database launched by Digital Science in January 2018. Dimensions includes journal articles and citation counts, making it a potential new source of impact data. This article explores the value of Dimensions from an impact assessment perspective with an examination of Food Science research 2008-2018 and a random sample of 10,000 Scopus articles from 2012. The results include high correlations between citation counts from Scopus and Dimensions (0.96 by narrow field in 2012) as well as similar average counts. Almost all Scopus articles with DOIs were found in Dimensions (97% in 2012). Thus, the scholarly database component of Dimensions seems to be a plausible alternative to Scopus and the Web of Science for general citation analyses and for citation data in support of some types of research evaluations.
    • Which US and European Higher Education Institutions are visible in ResearchGate and what affects their RG Score?

      Lepori, Benedetto; Thelwall, Michael; Hoorani, Bareerah Hafeez (Elsevier, 2018-07-19)
      While ResearchGate has become the most popular academic social networking site in terms of regular users, not all institutions have joined and the scores it assigns to academics and institutions are controversial. This paper assesses the presence in ResearchGate of higher education institutions in Europe and the US in 2017, and the extent to which institutional ResearchGate Scores reflect institutional academic impact. Most of the 2258 European and 4355 US higher educational institutions included in the sample had an institutional ResearchGate profile, with near universal coverage for PhD-awarding institutions found in the Web of Science (WoS). For non-PhD awarding institutions that did not publish, size (number of staff members) was most associated with presence in ResearchGate. For PhD-awarding institutions in WoS, presence in RG was strongly related to the number of WoS publications. In conclusion, a) institutional RG scores reflect research volume more than visibility and b) this indicator is highly correlated to the number of WoS publications. Hence, the value of RG Scores for institutional comparisons is limited.
    • Differences between journals and years in the proportions of students, researchers and faculty registering Mendeley articles

      Thelwall, Mike (Springer, 2018-07)
      This article contains two investigations into Mendeley reader counts with the same dataset. Mendeley reader counts provide evidence of early scholarly impact for journal articles, but reflect the reading of a relatively young subset of all researchers. To investigate whether this age bias is constant or varies by narrow field and publication year, this article compares the proportions of student, researcher and faculty readers for articles published 1996-2016 in 36 large monodisciplinary journals. In these journals, undergraduates recorded the newest research and faculty the oldest, with large differences between journals. The existence of substantial differences in the composition of readers between related fields points to the need for caution when using Mendeley readers as substitutes for citations for broad fields. The second investigation shows, with the same data, that there are substantial differences between narrow fields in the time taken for Scopus citations to be as numerous as Mendeley readers. Thus, even narrow field differences can impact on the relative value of Mendeley compared to citation counts.
    • Academic information on Twitter: A user survey

      Mohammadi, Ehsan; Thelwall, Mike; Kwasny, Mary; Holmes, Kristi L. (PLOS, 2018-05-17)
      Although counts of tweets citing academic papers are used as an informal indicator of interest, little is known about who tweets academic papers and who uses Twitter to find scholarly information. Without knowing this, it is difficult to draw useful conclusions from a publication being frequently tweeted. This study surveyed 1,912 users that have tweeted journal articles to ask about their scholarly-related Twitter uses. Almost half of the respondents (45%) did not work in academia, despite the sample probably being biased towards academics. Twitter was used most by people with a social science or humanities background. People tend to leverage social ties on Twitter to find information rather than searching for relevant tweets. Twitter is used in academia to acquire and share real-time information and to develop connections with others. Motivations for using Twitter vary by discipline, occupation, and employment sector, but not much by gender. These factors also influence the sharing of different types of academic information. This study provides evidence that Twitter plays a significant role in the discovery of scholarly information and cross-disciplinary knowledge spreading. Most importantly, the large numbers of non-academic users support the claims of those using tweet counts as evidence for the non-academic impacts of scholarly research
    • Co-saved, co-tweeted, and co-cited networks

      Didegah, Fereshteh; Thelwall, Mike; Danish Centre for Studies in Research & Research Policy, Department of Political Science & Government; Aarhus University; Aarhus Denmark; Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street; Wolverhampton WV1 1LY UK (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018-05-14)
      Counts of tweets and Mendeley user libraries have been proposed as altmetric alternatives to citation counts for the impact assessment of articles. Although both have been investigated to discover whether they correlate with article citations, it is not known whether users tend to tweet or save (in Mendeley) the same kinds of articles that they cite. In response, this article compares pairs of articles that are tweeted, saved to a Mendeley library, or cited by the same user, but possibly a different user for each source. The study analyzes 1,131,318 articles published in 2012, with minimum tweeted (10), saved to Mendeley (100), and cited (10) thresholds. The results show surprisingly minor overall overlaps between the three phenomena. The importance of journals for Twitter and the presence of many bots at different levels of activity suggest that this site has little value for impact altmetrics. The moderate differences between patterns of saving and citation suggest that Mendeley can be used for some types of impact assessments, but sensitivity is needed for underlying differences.
    • Can Microsoft Academic be used for citation analysis of preprint archives? The case of the Social Science Research Network

      Thelwall, Mike (Springer, 2018-03)
      Preprint archives play an important scholarly communication role within some fields. The impact of archives and individual preprints are difficult to analyse because online repositories are not indexed by the Web of Science or Scopus. In response, this article assesses whether the new Microsoft Academic can be used for citation analysis of preprint archives, focusing on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Although Microsoft Academic seems to index SSRN comprehensively, it groups a small fraction of SSRN papers into an easily retrievable set that has variations in character over time, making any field normalisation or citation comparisons untrustworthy. A brief parallel analysis of arXiv suggests that similar results would occur for other online repositories. Systematic analyses of preprint archives are nevertheless possible with Microsoft Academic when complete lists of archive publications are available from other sources because of its promising coverage and citation results.
    • Early Mendeley readers correlate with later citation counts

      Thelwall, Mike (Springer, 2018-03)
      Counts of the number of readers registered in the social reference manager Mendeley have been proposed as an early impact indicator for journal articles. Although previous research has shown that Mendeley reader counts for articles tend to have a strong positive correlation with synchronous citation counts after a few years, no previous studies have compared early Mendeley reader counts with later citation counts. In response, this first diachronic analysis compares reader counts within a month of publication with citation counts after 20 months for ten fields. There were moderate or strong correlations in eight out of ten fields, with the two exceptions being the smallest categories (n=18, 36) with wide confidence intervals. The correlations are higher than the correlations between later citations and early citations, showing that Mendeley reader counts are more useful early impact indicators than citation counts.
    • Gender bias in sentiment analysis

      Thelwall, Mike (Emerald, 2018-02-14)
      Purpose: To test if there are biases in lexical sentiment analysis accuracy between reviews authored by males and females. Design: This paper uses datasets of TripAdvisor reviews of hotels and restaurants in the UK written by UK residents to contrast the accuracy of lexical sentiment analysis for males and females. Findings: Male sentiment is harder to detect because it is less explicit. There was no evidence that this problem could be solved by gender-specific lexical sentiment analysis. Research limitations: Only one lexical sentiment analysis algorithm was used. Practical implications: Care should be taken when drawing conclusions about gender differences from automatic sentiment analysis results. When comparing opinions for product aspects that appeal differently to men and women, female sentiments are likely to be overrepresented, biasing the results. Originality/value: This is the first evidence that lexical sentiment analysis is less able to detect the opinions of one gender than another.
    • A comparison of title words for journal articles and Wikipedia pages: Coverage and stylistic differences?

      Thelwall, Mike; Sud, Pardeep (La Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT), 2018-02-12)
      This article assesses whether there are gaps in Wikipedia’s coverage of academic information and whether there are non-obvious stylistic differences from academic journal articles that Wikipedia users and editors should be aware of. For this, it analyses terms in the titles of journal articles that are absent from all English Wikipedia page titles for each of 27 Scopus subject categories. The results show that English Wikipedia has lower coverage of issues of interest to non-English nations and there are gaps probably caused by a lack of willing subject specialist editors in some areas. There were also stylistic disciplinary differences in the results, with some fields using synonyms of “analysing” that were ignored in Wikipedia, and others using the present tense in titles to emphasise research outcomes. Since Wikipedia is broadly effective at covering academic research topics from all disciplines, it might be relied upon by non-specialists. Specialists should therefore check for coverage gaps within their areas for useful topics and librarians should caution users that important topics may be missing.
    • Can Microsoft Academic assess the early citation impact of in-press articles? A multi-discipline exploratory analysis

      Kousha, Kayvan; Abdoli, Mahshid; Thelwall, Mike (Elsevier, 2018-02-03)
      Many journals post accepted articles online before they are formally published in an issue. Early citation impact evidence for these articles could be helpful for timely research evaluation and to identify potentially important articles that quickly attract many citations. This article investigates whether Microsoft Academic can help with this task. For over 65,000 Scopus in-press articles from 2016 and 2017 across 26 fields, Microsoft Academic found 2-5 times as many citations as Scopus, depending on year and field. From manual checks of 1,122 Microsoft Academic citations not found in Scopus, Microsoft Academic’s citation indexing was faster but not much wider than Scopus for journals. It achieved this by associating citations to preprints with their subsequent in-press versions and by extracting citations from in-press articles. In some fields its coverage of scholarly digital libraries, such as arXiv.org, was also an advantage. Thus, Microsoft Academic seems to be a more comprehensive automatic source of citation counts for in-press articles than Scopus.
    • Microsoft Academic automatic document searches: accuracy for journal articles and suitability for citation analysis

      Thelwall, Mike (Elsevier, 2018-02)
      Microsoft Academic is a free academic search engine and citation index that is similar to Google Scholar but can be automatically queried. Its data is potentially useful for bibliometric analysis if it is possible to search effectively for individual journal articles. This article compares different methods to find journal articles in its index by searching for a combination of title, authors, publication year and journal name and uses the results for the widest published correlation analysis of Microsoft Academic citation counts for journal articles so far. Based on 126,312 articles from 323 Scopus subfields in 2012, the optimal strategy to find articles with DOIs is to search for them by title and filter out those with incorrect DOIs. This finds 90% of journal articles. For articles without DOIs, the optimal strategy is to search for them by title and then filter out matches with dissimilar metadata. This finds 89% of journal articles, with an additional 1% incorrect matches. The remaining articles seem to be mainly not indexed by Microsoft Academic or indexed with a different language version of their title. From the matches, Scopus citation counts and Microsoft Academic counts have an average Spearman correlation of 0.95, with the lowest for any single field being 0.63. Thus, Microsoft Academic citation counts are almost universally equivalent to Scopus citation counts for articles that are not recent but there are national biases in the results.
    • Could scientists use Altmetric.com scores to predict longer term citation counts?

      Thelwall, Mike; Nevill, Tamara (Elsevier, 2018-02)
      Altmetrics from Altmetric.com are widely used by publishers and researchers to give earlier evidence of attention than citation counts. This article assesses whether Altmetric.com scores are reliable early indicators of likely future impact and whether they may also reflect non-scholarly impacts. A preliminary factor analysis suggests that the main altmetric indicator of scholarly impact is Mendeley reader counts, with weaker news, informational and social network discussion/promotion dimensions in some fields. Based on a regression analysis of Altmetric.com data from November 2015 and Scopus citation counts from October 2017 for articles in 30 narrow fields, only Mendeley reader counts are consistent predictors of future citation impact. Most other Altmetric.com scores can help predict future impact in some fields. Overall, the results confirm that early Altmetric.com scores can predict later citation counts, although less well than journal impact factors, and the optimal strategy is to consider both Altmetric.com scores and journal impact factors. Altmetric.com scores can also reflect dimensions of non-scholarly impact in some fields.