New ways to explore your academic impact

It seems that today, for a strange series of coincidences, is a good day if you wanted new tools to explore your academic impact.

First, Google/Scholar Citations has finally been opened to all. Everybody can now create a profile on Google/Scholar, to keep track of articles and citations. I like google/scholar because it finds articles and books that are not indexed on scopus, but that are interesting nevertheless. Plus, it is free to use. However, our paper on Recombination Rates has been recently cited in a Nature Genetics paper, and Google/Scholar didn’t find it out.

Second, the finalists for the PLoS/Mendeley binary battle have been selected. Check the list here. The PLoS/Mendeley binary battle is an initiative proposed by these two organizations to encourage the writing of applications that make use the PLoS and the Mendeley APIs, to retrieve information on papers and readers. So, this initiative is originating some very good web applications to explore academic impact or play with citations and papers, and here I will describe some of my favourites.

I like two tools to see the impact of research articles on Internet: Total Impact and Readermeter. They both allow to see how many times your articles are read on Mendeley, cited, referenced on Twitter and Facebook, bookmarked on CiteULike, and much more.  The nice thing about Total Impact is that it also indexes my presentations on slideshare: for example, one of my presentations on Python is actually more popular than any other paper. However, one of our papers is not being recognized correctly, because of a duplicated entry in mendeley. On the other hand, Readermeter allows to see the geographical distribution of readers, and provides more statistics. It would be good if it would be possible to embed one of these two reports in a web page, for example in the About page of a blog, or an academic home page.

My TotalImpact report. Click on it to see the full report. Check also my ReaderMeter report if you like.

Another tool I liked is PaperCritic. It is a repository of commentaries on published papers. The idea is not entirely new: PLoS and other journals already allow to comment on papers. Unfortunately not all publishing houses provide this option.. moreover, having a central repository of comments on papers makes them easier to browse and select. I only wonder how much this tool is redundant with ResearchBlogging, and if the commentaries posted on the site are communicated to the authors of the paper even if they are not signed on PaperCritic.

So, these tools provides new ways to play with academic impact indicators, and to see whether our work is effectively useful to anyone.. I’ve played with them this morning, but now I would be better to get back to work, to improve their results 🙂



  1. Hi Giovanni,

    Glad you had time to check out (and liked!) PaperCritic! Your comments are indeed quite central to what we’re doing and I appreciate the feedback a lot.

    The first of those, regarding the ResearchBlogging platform, is quite straightforward to answer – I don’t think that a blog network and a review site really get in each other’s way, especially since most blog posts will not be targeted reviews of one particular paper. We are already looking into aggregating blog posts from ResearchBlogging and other blogs, so we’ll be trying to link to those from a paper’s page on PaperCritic, thus providing, as you correctly pointed out, a nice way of finding all mentions of a paper in one place.

    On notifying paper authors about new comments – this is something we certainly thought about and would love to have in a perfect world.. Unfortunately, there are a couple very major issues here. Firstly, it is extremely hard to automatically fetch an author’s contact details from the paper alone – I know many papers will have an email inside them, but until now, as far as I know, even Mendeley are not storing those anywhere, and we sadly don’t have the infrastructure to do document processing right now. However, even if we had the email address say, the next issue would be if authors would really appreciate us sending them any messages at all (of course we could offer the option to unsubscribe, but still many people really hate mail that wasn’t asked for).

    If you have any suggestions about how we could tackle the latter issues, I would be extremely excited to hear those as usual 🙂


    PS. Big cheers to Mendeley for opening up an API and starting all these discussions, as well as making all the apps in the competition possible in the first place! Really excited by the latest developments.

  2. it’s a great move from Google Scholar to release their citation data and I am looking forward to further developments. However, citations from Google should be used with care when it comes to evaluations of researchers etc. As we showed in some papers, Google Scholar counts self citations and it is even possible to manipulate citation counts on Google Scholar.

    “Google Scholar’s Ranking Algorithm: An Introductory Overview”'s_Ranking_Algorithm_–_An_Introductory_Overview_–_preprint.pdf

    “Academic search engine spam and google scholar’s resilience against it”

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