Elsevier Launches SciVal Spotlight

Elsevier has launched SciVal Spotlight.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

SciVal Spotlight uses an innovative visualization technique to produce customized maps that provide graphical views of an institution's performance over time and across scientific fields, focusing on specific topical areas. By pinpointing a university's topical strengths and identifying leading researchers and institutions in each area, the tool is designed to help academic decision-makers optimize funding allocations and enhance hiring and collaboration decisions.

Quantifying the overall size of each topical area, the tool allows institutions to understand the significance of their article and market shares and how they rank compared to competitors in those areas. It also assesses article and market growth or decline over the last five years, offering an average rate for each using a two year sliding scale. Additionally, it determines if an institution's work is building upon the most recent discoveries; providing a "state of the art quotient" by analyzing how recent the citations are within its published output.

"We recognized a need to change the way research is currently being measured, and designed the tool to provide a more holistic and integrated view of performance," explained Jay Katzen, Managing Director, Academic and Government Products. "By capturing the unique research fingerprint of each institution, we can help academic executives better understand their core strengths and potential weaknesses so they can develop and implement successful long-term research strategies."

Moving beyond the traditional method of measuring research output by journal count, SciVal Spotlight is based on a more detailed model of the current structure of science. The model, covering virtually all of the research being published across the globe, was developed using co-citation analysis of a comprehensive database that includes 6.1 million separate papers published between 2004 and 2008, and another two million of the highly-cited references from these papers.

Leveraging this new model of science, SciVal Spotlight identifies and focuses on the inter-related work being done within an institution which represents the unique topical areas or "distinctive competencies" in which it is a leader. It also offers an opportunity to better understand which institutions are true competitors by revealing those that compete within the same research competencies.

"The square peg, round hole nature of evaluating research performance based on the broad classifications of journals no longer captures the reality of today's multidisciplinary scientific landscape," explains Kevin Boyack, a senior development advisor for Elsevier. "SciVal Spotlight provides academic decision-makers with a more accurate picture of research productivity. It allows them to evaluate performance based on the breakthroughs they are trying to achieve, rather than the classification of the journals in which their researchers are publishing articles."

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