Library Hi Tech, Vol. 27 No. 4, 2009. pp. 540-556
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide an alternative,
although complementary, system for the evaluation of the
scholarly activities of academic organizations, scholars and
researchers, based on web indicators, in order to speed up the
change of paradigm in scholarly communication towards a new
fully electronic twenty-first century model.
Design/methodology/approach - In order to achieve these
goals, a new set of web indicators has been introduced,
obtained mainly from data gathered from search engines,
the new mediators of scholarly communication.
Findings - It was found that three large groups of indicators
are feasible to obtain and relevant for evaluation purposes:
activity (web publication); impact (visibility)
and usage (visits and visitors). As a proof of concept, a Ranking
Web of Universities has been built with Webometrics data.
There are two relevant findings: ranking results are similar
to those obtained by other bibliometric-based rankings;
and there is a concerning digital divide between North
American and European universities, which appear
in lower positions when compared with their USA and Canada
Research limitations/implications - Cybermetrics is
still an emerging discipline, so new developments should be
expected when more empirical data become available.
Practical implications - The proposed approach suggests
the publication of truly electronic journals, rather than
digital versions of printed articles. Additional materials,
such as raw data and multimedia files, should be included
along with other relevant information arising from more
informal activities. These repositories should be Open
Access, available as part of the public web, indexed by
the main commercial search engines. It is expected that
these actions could generate larger web-based audiences,
reduce the costs of publication and access and allow third
parties to take advantage of the knowledge generated,
without sacrificing peer review, which should be extended
(pre- and post-) and expanded (closed and open).
Originality/value - A full taxonomy of web indicators is
introduced for describing and evaluating research activities,
academic organizations and individual scholars and scientists.
Previous attempts for building such classification were
incomplete and did not take into account feasibility and
Isidro F. Aguillo, HonPhD
CCHS - CSIC
Albasanz, 26-28, 3C1. 28037 Madrid. Spain
Ph. 91-602 2890. Fax: 91-602 2971