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Raising the visibility of your institution and researchers

February 25, 2020

By Guss van den Brekel

Professionals collaborating on whiteboard

The author shares four key areas used to raise the university's visibility

The rapid growth of the international higher education system has put colleges and universities under pressure. An ever-rising number of institutions are chasing a limited pool of talent and funding. In this competitive environment, raising the profile of an institution is crucial. And according to Medical Information Specialist Guus van den Brekel, libraries are ideally placed to help their institutions achieve this goal.

Guus, who works at the Central Medical Library at the Netherlands’ University Medical Center in Groningen (UMCG), explains: “More and more, institutions need to showcase themselves and prove their societal relevance and impact, and researchers need to be more visible.  I think there is a lot that libraries can do to help in this area.”

In a recent Library Connect webinar, Guus shared four key areas in which he and his library colleagues are helping UMCG raise its visibility.

1. Profile optimization

A big focus for the Central Medical Library is optimizing institution and researcher profiles. The team holds courses, workshops and on-demand events for researchers to create awareness on the importance of profiles, and to help them improve their existing profiles. The researchers learn how they can link their profiles to the institutional repository (Pure), add their ORCID ID, link to relevant societal activities, and more.

“We also advise and give support on the multiple research profiles available, and which are ones are worth investing time in,” says Guus. “Proactively, we try to take the time to merge duplicate author profiles so that analysis of activities is more accurate. We also adjust incorrect affiliations (particularly for highly cited authors) as this helps improve our institution’s ranking.”

Another avenue they are exploring is the Google Knowledge Graph cards – boxed profiles containing a researcher’s name, photo and career highlights — that sometimes appear on the right of a Google search results page.

2. Research impact services

Research assessment in the Netherlands is changing, mainly due to the 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). “DORA has encouraged the research community to turn away from journal impact factor (IF) and h-index, and move toward article-level metrics such as field-weighted citation impact (FWCI).* With that in mind, we are exploring a promising avenue in which we show not only the citation of publications, but also the frequency distribution over certain intervals of the FWCIs, which allows us to compare our researchers to other researchers operating in the same field or country,” explains Guus.

“We provide expert advice, training and services to enable the academic community at the university to demonstrate their scholarly impact in grant applications and promotional portfolios through our Research Impact Services. Information is available on library websites, and we have nurtured a network of people within the university who help with the analytics.”

3. Outreach and societal impact awareness

Guus and his colleagues in the Grant Support Hub and the Center for Development and Innovation (CDI) at UMCG realized that a sizable number of the university’s researchers were unaware of the growing importance of demonstrating the wider impact of their work to society. In response, they launched a one-year pilot project, called OASIS (Outreach and Societal Impact Support), to increase the institution’s research impact beyond academia.

“This involves driving a change of policy inside the UMCG. Yes, impact matters but we also need to think about the definition of excellence,” says Guus. “How can we make sure that researchers get their recognition, and what are we going to use as assessment guidelines?”

4. Open access support

Over the past few years, Dutch universities have negotiated deals with publishers that allow authors at those institutions to publish open access (OA) in the publishers’ journals, without having to pay an article processing charge (APC). For Guus and others at the UMCG Central Medical Library, the next step is to make sure researchers are aware of this option. The open access policy officer in the CMB also participates in the university-wide OA project.

“We are monitoring uptake and then creating visualizations which we share with departments, highlighting open access opportunities,” Guus says.

In addition, the library has other OA initiatives underway, including:

  • Open Access Publication of the Week:

    Each of the five UMCG institutes nominates an outstanding OA publication, which the library then promotes on internal and external platforms, including social media.

  • Act on Acceptance service:

    Authors are asked to notify the library whenever they have a paper accepted. The library then delivers focused information to the author and includes the “green” OA version of the publication in the institutional repository.

  • UMCG dashboard for managers:

    “It shows KPIs, or indicators, in the quadrants of science and society, and maps open access activity against them,” Guus reports.

Want to know more?

Guus was a guest speaker in the Library Connect webinar titled The library’s role in high-value profiles of ​researchers and institutions, held in February. Other speakers shared Scopus best practices and the role that profiles can play in connecting faculty. You can access the recorded version of the webinar by clicking on the link below. You’ll find Guus’ presentation between the timestamps 2:12 and 17:14.



Guss van den Brekel

Medical Information Specialist, Central Medical Library University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands