Increasing demand for scientometrics: Insights from the first SYoS Workshop

On 8 June 2023, the first SYoS Workshop took place at ETH Zurich. It followed Dr Stefanie Haustein’s opening lecture entitled “Opportunities and challenges of scientometrics: Diversification of data sources and applications”. The workshop was moderated by Sven Hug from the Swiss Science Council. In addition to Dr Stefanie Haustein (University of Ottawa), the workshop was attended by one independent researcher and seventeen participants from Swiss institutions, including EPFL, ETH Board, ETH Zurich, SERI (State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation), University of Basel, University of Fribourg, University of St. Gallen and University of Zurich.

The diversity of the participants’ profiles emphasises the need for scientometric data and services, and shows that the topic concerns a wide range of stakeholders. These include policy makers, university managers, administrative staff at higher education institution as well as scientific staff, i.e. professors or senior and junior researchers.

The workshop started with all participants talking about the role of scientometrics at their institution and in their work. In Switzerland, the number of people working on scientometrics varies greatly across institutions: In some of them, entire groups are dedicated specifically to scientometrics, while in others, some teams offer scientometric services along other services, and in still others, only a few isolated individuals devote time and attention to the field. The participants noted that there is an increasing demand for scientometric data and services in Switzerland. However, they acknowledged that it is not always possible to meet the demand because of difficulties in obtaining high quality data, or a lack of resources and infrastructure.

Working in small groups on the first SYoS workshop
Work group identifying opportunities and challenges of scientometrics

The short presentations were followed by small group discussions on current and future challenges and opportunities of scientometrics. These addressed some of the issues raised by Dr Stefanie Haustein during her lecture delivered on the previous day. Topics discussed included guaranteeing data quality, building a community to share practices, addressing funding issues, ensuring good coverage of publications in internal repositories, using scientometrics in a responsible and transparent way, and accounting for the effects of artificial intelligence on citation practices.

The last part of the workshop was dedicated to identifying the most important and urgent issues relating to scientometrics in Switzerland. Among the primary concerns discussed by the groups were the need to leverage a community, to increase metrics literacy and to ensure the quality and the reliability of scientometric data, which is relevant for both service providers and researchers.

The SYoS project team is pleased with the very insightful first workshop and would like to thank Dr Stefanie Haustein, Sven Hug, and all participants for sharing their perspectives as well as for the very fruitful and stimulating discussions.

We will continue these conversations at our next SYoS workshop, which will take place on 12 October 2023.

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Simon Willemin

Simon Willemin is a data scientist at the ETH Library. He works in the group Knowledge Management and is part of the "Swiss Year of Scientometrics" project team.

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