Using SciVal

Finding metrics for your research publications

Res Serv
Res Serv
Sep 12, 2018 · 9 min read

This guide will show you how to access the electronic tool SciVal and use it to obtain metrics on research publications.

Table of contents

  1. What is SciVal and what can it do?
  2. Accessing SciVal, selecting a group of researchers, and choosing metrics
  3. Viewing and exporting metrics
  4. Summary

What is SciVal and what can it do?

SciVal is a tool for retrieving quantitative data on publications. It can give you data on publications

  • by an institution
  • by a group of researchers (for example, all those in a particular REF Unit of Assessment)
  • by an individual researcher
  • by any other ‘entity’ in which you’re interested (even an entire country).

This data can tell you various things, such as

  • how often the publications have been cited by other researchers — an indirect measure of their influence within academia
  • how researchers from the institution, research group or other ‘entity’ collaborate with researchers overseas or in the corporate sector on authoring papers.

This data is very relevant to the University of Manchester’s institution-wide and Faculty- and School-level objective of increasing the citation impact of research and the levels of research collaboration internationally and with the corporate sector.

This guide will show you how to use SciVal to

  • find a group of researchers (in this case, a group representing a REF Unit of Assessment)
  • identify corporate organisations and/or international institutions with which researchers in the group are collaborating
  • export this information for further manipulation in Excel or another package.

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Accessing SciVal, selecting a group of researchers for use, and choosing metrics

Jump to: Selecting a group of researchers | Choosing metrics | Limiting to Articles, Conference Papers and Reviews

Accessing SciVal

Sign in to SciVal [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 1: Go to the SciVal home page (www.scival.com) and select the ‘Sign in’ link at the top right-hand corner. This will take you to a screen (pictured) where you can

  • log in if you already have a username and password for SciVal, or
  • register for a username and password if you don’t have these already.

NB: If you already have a username and password for another Elsevier product, these should also work for SciVal.

Step 2: When you log in, you may be taken straight to the SciVal home page, or you may see a screen (pictured) which asks you to select your organization from a list.

  • If the latter happens, select the list entry which ends with ‘(IP)’.
  • This is because our access to SciVal is mainly based on IP address, which means your computer is recognised as a University of Manchester computer.
If you are given a choice of organisation, choose the entry ending with ‘(IP)’ [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 3: When you have completed the logging-in process, you will see the SciVal home page.

  • This gives you access to three main modules: Overview, Benchmarking and Collaboration.
  • It also gives you access to a Reporting module, which can be used in conjunction with any of the other modules.
  • This guide concentrates on the use of the Benchmarking module, which offers the widest range of metrics, including the collaboration metrics used in the examples here.
The SciVal homepage [screenshot from scival.com]

Most work you do in SciVal will start by selecting ‘My SciVal’, so click on this at the top of the page. :

Access ‘My SciVal’ from the options at the top of the page (options: Overview, Benchmarking, Collaboration, Reporting, My SciVal, Scopus) [screenshot from scival.com]

Selecting a group of researchers for use

Step 1: When you have selected ‘My SciVal’, and also whenever you are using any of the three main modules, the left ‘panel’ on the screen allows you to move between five different categories of ‘entities’. These are

  • Institutions and Groups
  • Researchers and Groups
  • Publication Sets
  • Countries and Groups
  • Topics and Research Areas
The left panel allows you to move between different categories, listed in the text [screenshot from scival.com]

For this example, select ‘Researchers and Groups’.

Step 2: Next, click on the drop-down menu [Image 6].

  • This allows you to limit (if you want) the range of entities from which to choose.
  • It usually defaults to ‘All entities you can use in SciVal’.
  • For this example, select ‘Entities provided by your institution’.
The drop-down menu allows you to limit the range of entities from which to choose [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 3: You will see a list of Groups of Researchers representing the researchers assigned by the University to each of the REF Units of Assessment (UoA).

The Groups of Researchers represent the researchers assigned by the University to each of the REF Units of Assessment [screenshot from scival.com]
  • Click in the box next to a UoA in which you are interested.
  • Then click on ‘Add to Panel’, choosing the options ‘Replace existing set’ and ‘Select and view this set in Benchmarking’.
  • The latter option will automatically take you from ‘My SciVal’ into the Benchmarking module.
Add an entity to a selection panel [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 4: SciVal will probably default to presenting its information in chart form.

  • The chart format is useful for visualisation purposes.
  • However, clicking on ‘Table’ gives you a format which makes it easier to dig down into the data.
The default chart format is useful for visualisation purposes [screenshot from scival.com]
The table format allows you to explore the underlying data in more detail [screenshot from scival.com]

Choosing metrics to assess collaboration

Step 1: For whatever set of metrics you choose in the Benchmarking module, you can choose to apply them to publications over any year range.

  • This is subject to the caveat that the earliest year for which SciVal has data is 1996.
  • You can change the year range at the top of the screen by sliding the markers to indicate the first and last years in the range.
  • For this example, change the year range to a range of your choice.
The Benchmarking module allows you to limit to a year range [image from scival.com]

Step 2: SciVal will probably be showing you its default choice of metrics for display.

  • Metric 1 shows Scholarly Output (i.e. all the publications produced by the Group of Researchers).
  • Metric 2 gives a breakdown by publication year.

You can retain or change these metrics as you want.

Step 3: For this example, make the following selections.

  • Keep Metric 1 as ‘Scholarly Output’
  • For Metric 2, click on the down-arrow next to the wording, and then click on Collaboration and then on Academic-Corporate Collaboration.
  • Under the heading ‘View’, select ‘Academic-corporate collaboration’
  • Under the heading ‘Show as’, select ‘Total value’
  • Under the heading ‘Include’, select ‘All publication types’
Example: setting up Metric 2 as: ‘Academic-Corporate Collaboration’ > ‘Total value’ > ‘All publication types’ [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 4: In SciVal, you can choose up to three metrics to view simultaneously.

  • For Metric 3, click on the down-arrow next to the wording, and then click on Collaboration, and then on Collaboration from the next menu as well.
  • Under the heading ‘View’, select ‘International collaboration’
  • Under the heading ‘Show as’, select ‘Total value’
  • Under the heading ‘Include’, select ‘All publication types’
Example: setting up Metric 3 as ‘International collaboration’ > ‘Total value’ > ‘All publication types’ [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 5: In this example, we’ve suggested selecting ‘Total value’ rather than ‘Percentage’ under the heading ‘Show as’.

  • There are times when showing a percentage figure rather than a total value can be useful: for example, when comparing metrics for an institution or group which has many publications with an institution or group which has fewer.
  • Conversely, showing ‘Total value’ is useful in SciVal because, unlike the percentage figure, it allows you to drill down further into the data by clicking on the number.
  • The next section of this guide will illustrate this.

Limiting to Articles, Conference Papers and Reviews

Step 1: Before we look at how to drill down further into the data (by clicking on the number), we can see how you can limit your search to particular types of publications.

  • By default, SciVal will show you publications of all types, including editorials, errata notes, and so on.
  • You can change this so that it will show you information on, for example, only articles, conference papers and reviews (i.e. review articles).

Step 2: You can do this by following the same process as you followed when selecting metrics earlier, but making a different choice at one point, as follows.

  • For Metric 2, click on the down-arrow next to the wording, and then click on Collaboration and then on Academic-Corporate Collaboration.
  • Under the heading ‘View’, select ‘Academic-corporate collaboration’
  • Under the heading ‘Show as’, select ‘Total value’
  • Under the heading ‘Include’, select ‘Articles, reviews and conference papers’ (rather than ‘All publication types’ as earlier).

Step 3: You can make the same change for Metric 1 and Metric 3. You can click any of our three example images to see this in more detail.

Example: setting up Metrics [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 4: This will give you a similar display to what you saw earlier, before you limited the results to articles, reviews and conference papers only.

Viewing data in a table based on three defined Metrics [screenshot from scival.com]

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Viewing and exporting metrics

Step 1: The first step in digging down deeper into the data, whatever you want to do with it, is always the same.

  • You should click on the number which represents the publications in which you are interested.
  • As an example, we can use the number under the heading ‘Academic-Corporate Collaboration’.
  • This will show you a list of all the publications which have a corporate co-author.
Example: Viewing a list of publications [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 2: When looking for close collaborations, there is a common problem, which SciVal provides a means of addressing.

  • The problem relates to papers with literally thousands of authors, which are based on multinational collaborative research projects.
  • Since co-authors of this papers don’t really work closely with each other, these do not represent close collaboration between Manchester and another university.
  • SciVal provides a means of filtering out these papers.
  • You can select an option on the left, under the heading ‘Author numbers’, to restrict the list to only those papers which have 100 or fewer authors, 50 or fewer authors, or 10 or fewer authors.
You can restrict a list of papers limiting the number of authors per paper [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 3: Whenever a list of papers appears in SciVal, you can click on ‘View in Scopus’ for any paper, and it will show you the full details of the paper, including details of affiliations

Click ‘View in Scopus’ to view details for any paper in SciVal [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 4: Similarly, whenever a list of papers appears in SciVal, you can export the details of the papers, for manipulation in Excel or another program.

  • When you click on Export, you will be given the choice of exporting the data as a CSV file or an XLS file (or, if you want a static presentation of the data, as a PDF).
  • You can select any or all of thirty data fields, from the categories ‘Publication basics’, ‘Publication details’, ‘Publication metrics’ and ‘Scopus source related’.
  • In the context of this example, the ‘Institutions’ field in the export will list all the collaborating institutions (including corporate organisations) on each paper.
When exporting, you can choose which data fields to include [screenshot from scival.com]

Step 5: Steps 1–4 above can be followed to dig down into any group of publications.

  • For example, to investigate international collaborations, you can start by clicking on the number under the appropriate heading.
  • Note that, because ‘International’ is a subheading within the ‘Collaboration’ category in SciVal, the heading in SciVal is just ‘Collaboration’
When filtering by subheadings, note that data may appear under a higher-level category heading [screenshot from scival.com]

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Summary

This guide has shown you how to use SciVal

  • to find a group of researchers representing a REF Unit of Assessment with which you are concerned
  • to identify which corporate organisations and/or international institutions researchers in the group are collaborating with
  • to export this information for further manipulation in Excel or another package

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This is the end of our guide to Using SciVal. We hope you found it useful.