“Research impact” is on everyone’s minds these days: but how do we go about measuring it? A report has been released today, written by OII Fellow Eric Meyer: Splashes and Ripples: Synthesizing the Evidence on the Impacts of Digital Resources, that moves beyond (the usual) anecdotal evidence to a more empirically-based understanding on a variety of impacts that have been measured by qualitative and quantitative methods.
The report is an effort to begin to synthesize the evidence available under the JISC digitisation and eContent programmes to better understand the patterns of usage of digitised collections in research and teaching, in the UK and beyond. JISC has invested heavily in eContent and digitisation, funding dozens of projects of varying size since 2004. However, until recently, the value of these efforts has been mostly either taken as given, or asserted via anecdote.
Eric Meyer said: “In the synthesis report we argue that “impact” is more than crude measures of number of visitors, or numbers of links. We recommend using a variety of qualitative and quantitative measures to understand the types of impacts resources have on research, teaching, learning, and for the wider public. The case studies in the synthesis report illustrate how both high-traffic sites and more specialized collections can demonstrate and enhance their impacts.”
The report is being launched today at an all-day OII event on Digital Impacts: How to Measure and Understand the Usage and Impact of Digital Content (it’s being webcast, so look for it on our webcast site in about a week’s time). The event builds on previous JISC-funded work carried out by the OII which produced a toolkit describing best practice in methods for evaluating usage and impact of digital resources (TIDSR).
JISC has recently funded seven projects as part of the Impact and Embedding of Digitised Resources programme to use the toolkit to understand and improve their impact, and also funded the above synthesis report, which combines the results of these projects with other related evidence on the impacts of digital resources.