Blog / case study

A University Uses to Help Students and Faculty to Better Discover and Understand Research

Mon Sep 20 2021

The Problem

A university was looking to help their students and faculty improve the quality of their research and enhance the literature discovery experience.

Teaching students and researchers how to find and evaluate literature is a common task for university educators. However, finding high quality and relevant research is a time consuming task that requires a depth of engagement and practice that is often difficult to teach early researchers. The university found that most tools aimed at addressing this problem were too complex and onerous, aimed more at bibliometricians performing complex queries than students and researchers in their day to day lives.

The university wanted to find a tool that provided researchers with a better way to discover, contextualize, and understand research beyond traditional metrics. Specifically, a tool that could help students and researchers discover how literature fit within the context of other findings, and identify if the work had been tested by others and if so, if it had been supported or disputed. \

How scite helped

scite Reports empowers researchers to understand how a work is being talked about

The university was able to provide a comprehensive solution for their students, faculty, and staff to see exactly how research publications were cited (ie. were they supported, contrasted, or how they were mentioned), not just what cited them (ie. a count or list of citing publications). Researchers were able to identify quickly and easily which studies had been supported or contested.

With scite Citation Statement search, researchers can find exactly what they should be citing

The university's researchers were able to use a literature discovery tool that allows them to search across over 900M citation statements to find evidence, analyses, and expert opinions on any topic.

scite Dashboards enable the university to understand research outcomes not just research outputs

The university was able to use the scite Dashboards to evaluate their research by understanding which authors, research programs, or publications have been well supported, which ones have been heavily disputed, which publications have been retracted, and more.

Evaluating literature with scite Reports

Understanding the quality of a publication requires researchers to understand not only the publication itself but also thoroughly how that publication has been received by other researchers.

scite provided this university with a way to see everything that is said about a publication instantly and in one place instead of having to use various tool to find all of the citations, get access to the full text of those citations, and read those papers to see how a work has been cited hoping that the citation will be relevant to the research project.

With scite Reports, the university enabled it’s researchers to evaluate publications as experts in their field have and ensure that they are fully aware of any criticisms of the publication or it’s results when they make the choice to cite it.

By teaching students to use scite reports, university educators were able to show students what good citation practices look like and how to understand literature as others have understood it. In this way, students are able to check to see if the citations they are making to literature is in line with what experts have said and thereby empowering students to avoid out of context and inappropriate citations.

Example of a report page showing citation statements and how they talk about a publication of interest.

Example of a report page showing citation statements and how they talk about a publication of interest

Knowing what to cite with Citation Statement Search

Literature discovery is a difficult and time-consuming process. A process that university libraries devote many resources to by teaching how to systematically search, evaluate, and collect relevant information as well as by providing research support services to seasoned researchers. However, most discovery tools fail to provide a way for researchers to directly find how a certain topic, method, result, dataset or argument is being spoken about in the literature. Search strategies are often indirect and clumsy when it comes to finding information that is not in the title or abstract. Even when a full text search is provided, it is neither comprehensive nor contextual meaning that search results are sparse, incomplete, and hard to immediately see why the retrieved result is relevant.

With scite Citation Statement search, researchers at this university were able to directly search the text within citation statements to find evidence, analyses, and expert opinions. By surfacing the result within the context of citations, researchers are able to see both how and why the query was retrieved. This allows researchers to not only find relevant literature to reference but also ensure that they are not missing any citations for their research project. Having over 900M citation statements to search within means that entire bodies of research are available to students and faculty so they know exactly what they should be referencing during their research projects.

Example of a citation statement search showing a search for vaccine efficacy.

Example of a citation statement search showing a search for vaccine efficacy

Understanding research with Dashboards

Part of the mission of a university is to oversee the quality of research that is produced. Naturally university libraries and provost offices are tasked with evaluating the research they produce and understand how it can be improved. This is done using tools such as scopus and web of science to understand the output of their research programs and the impact of publications, research initiatives, and faculty as measured by citation counts. However, these tools lack the context needed to understand what those citation counts mean. 100 citations could all be refuting a publication, supporting it, or using it as a fundamental method for a new field of research. Since citation counts fail to express how a citation is made, a publication that has been well supported or heavily disputed are counted as the same.

The university wanted a way to understand not just how many citations publications and researchers received but what those citations were saying such as whether a publication was reproduced or if a publication was severely criticized. By utilizing scite dashboards, the university was able to see not just their research outputs but the outcomes of that work by understanding how publications and faculty were supported, contrasting, or mentioned. In this way, the university is able to see the real impact of their research programs and understand what areas of research need improvement, saving them countless hours of trying to add context to traditional bibliometrics and research evaluation approaches.

Example of some of the aggregate information a university can receive in their research evaluation dashboards.

Example of some of the aggregate information a university can receive in their research evaluation dashboards

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