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Three years ago I took on a new role as the Chief Director of the Mount Sinai Health System Libraries, which has now grown into a position as the Associate Dean of Libraries and Information Sciences. Our team embarked on several projects over this time aimed to provide faculty, students and clinicians with professional development venues. These include setting up our own Levy Library Press with two peer-reviewed, open access journals; developing and teaching educational workshops; and creating one cohesive access to all library resources across all Mount Sinai Health System campuses. In addition, identifying a gap in our research tracking abilities, we also implemented PlumX in order to easily showcase the impact of our research output using a variety of metrics.
The 5,000+ Mount Sinai researchers and faculty publish thousands of articles every year, yet we had no centralized way to track this output and their associated metrics to demonstrate the enormous impact that Mount Sinai research has In the scientific arena. As someone with a strong background in research metrics, I realized that streamlining and systemizing the process for tracking research would pay off. To be clear, you don’t need to know bibliometrics or have a PhD to do this, but you do need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the various systems from which you will draw data. In our case, we are using citation data from Scopus and ORCID and also have the full range of metrics offered by PlumX.
We looked at various systems to assist with tracking research output and decided on PlumX. The PlumX platform not only offers an extensive variety of impact metrics but is also flexible, can be self-administered by the library and is cost effective. The fact that Scopus profiles can be easily integrated in PlumX made our efforts to automatically update publications seamless and effective.
Since a research tracking system was new to the institution we began with a modest amount of profiles that we created for select faculty in the system. The faculty members who reviewed their newly created profiles were impressed by the fact that their publications can be updated automatically and be tracked for citations as well as social media and news mentions. Once we gained the approval of key faculty members we began working on implementing all profiles. We worked closely with the Scopus team to ensure that profiles were accurate, and of course, with the PlumX support team headed by Stephanie Faulkner who extended their expertise to us along the way. We are now adding our students, residents and postdocs to our PlumX system. By working closely with the Medical and Graduate School we are signing up our trainees and creating research profiles for them that they can use for the rest of their careers.
The process of implementing over 5,000 profiles took the library team about two years to complete. The main reason being our decision to individually curate each and every profile, to each to ensure accuracy and completeness. Some lessons that we learned include:
- If you are using Scopus as your publications updating source, work with the Scopus team to ensure that your institution’s profiles are accurate. The Scopus team was a tremendous help and worked with us to consolidate profiles and ensure accuracy.
- Combine Scopus and ORCID IDs in each profile to ensure that all output is captured and tracked.
- Seek feedback – once we completed an initial implementation we embarked on a series of meetings with department chairs and leaders of institutes to review the profiles and provide them with the opportunity to inform us of any inaccuracies or missing faculty. We then embarked on a second round of clean-up which proved to be successful and useful to all.
- Do not keep the system within the library! During the implementation process we ensured that each department assigns a “PlumX Admin.” Admins keep the department profiles current, remove people who have left, add people who join, and monitor the publications tracking for their departments. This ensures that the institution actively takes part in maintaining and using the system and has a stake in ensuring its long-term accuracy.
- Get the word out – to raise awareness of PlumX and demonstrate its benefits to faculty we created our “Article in the Spotlight” feature on our blog. Every month we select an article that has gained significant attention and feature it along with the authors. PlumX article dashboards also make good marketing tools for the institution since they are easily accessible and include all mentions of and interactions with the article.
PlumX widgets and publications will now be featured on faculty members’ pages on the Mount Sinai main website. These interactive publication widgets will replace the antiquated static lists of publications that are currently used on our website. This is one measure of success that demonstrates the positive impact PlumX has on our ability to not only track our publications’ impact, but also feature it. We have had several requests to collect and use PlumX metrics as supportive measures for grants applications and renewals. Going beyond citations, we were able to provide a variety of metrics that demonstrated the impact of the research resulting from grants as the NIH now encourages the inclusion of a greater breadth of metrics in their applications.
With my new role as Associate Dean of Libraries and Information Sciences I look forward to developing new reporting tools based on our PlumX data that will give our leadership insights into our research impact trends.