Can a personal website be useful as an information source to assess individual scientists? The case of European highly cited researchers
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The web is not only the main scholarly communication tool but also an important source of additional information about the individual researchers, their scientific and academic activities and their formally and informally published results. The aim of this study is to investigate whether successful scientists use their personal websites to disseminate their work and career details and to know which specific contents are provided on those sites, in order to check if they could be used in research evaluation. The presence of the highly cited researchers working at European institutions were analysed, a group clearly biased towards senior male researchers working in large countries (United Kingdom and Germany). Results show that about two thirds of them have a personal website, specially the scientists from Denmark, Israel and the United Kingdom. The most frequent disciplines in those websites are economics, mathematics, computer sciences and space sciences, which probably reflect the success of open access subject repositories like RepEc, Arxiv or CiteSeerX. Other pieces of information analysed from the websites include personal and contact data, past experience and description of expertise, current activities and lists of the author’s scientific papers. Indicators derived from most of these items can be used for developing a portfolio with evaluation purposes, but the overall availability of them in the population analysed is not representative enough by now for achieving that objective. Reasons for that insufficient coverage and suggestions for improvement are discussed.
KeywordsHighly cited researchers Personal website Europe Indicators Assessment
This paper is supported by ACUMEN (Academic careers understood through Measurement and Norms) project, grant agreement number 266632, under the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union. Thanks are extended to Statistical Analysis Unit of the CCHS-CSIC (Spain) for its assistance and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
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