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Disciplinary Reach: Investigating the Impact of Dataset Reuse in the Earth Sciences

Tiffany Chao

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


In the realm of scholarly communication, scientific datasets are becoming more widely recognized for their scholarly and reuse value. However, given the investment toward maintaining and storing research data for long-term access, there is no clear strategy or metric for determining the reuse of research datasets. This study proposes a novel approach to track use and measure the impact of publically accessible datasets in scholarly publications through disciplinary reach- the number of unique journals and related subject categorizations in which articles are published. Using affiliated publication(s), described by the author as the works identified by the dataset creator or curator related to a dataset, the principles underlying the bibliometric technique of citation analysis are leveraged and applied. Preliminary results show that affiliated publications are primarily in physical science and multidisciplinary journals, indicating these earth datasets may have an impact on a number of different research areas. Continued refinement of these approaches, measures, and the design will serve to broaden our understanding of the reuse potential of scientific data and their influence on advancing scholarship.

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