Do we (Indonesian) need a new set of perspectives to measure research/academic impact?

An abstract in progress. It’s our quick views as Indonesian academia. We don’t know where it will be sent nor when will the new metrics be introduced, but we know it’s the future.

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The authors:

Dasapta Erwin Irawan1, Leon Abdillah2, M.T. Tanzil3, Juneman Abraham4, Hendy Irawan1, …,…(type your name here)

1 Institut Teknologi Bandung, 2 Bina Darma University, 3 Universitas Muhammadiyah Sidoarjo, 4 Bina Nusantara University, 5 Afiliasi


Introduction: With the advancement of science, research impact should not be measured only by conventional metrics, like: journal impact factor, citation, and h-indeks. Especially in Indonesia, or in other SE Asia countries there has been debates on which path to choose, playing the WCU game, by which all publications must be written in English, or contributing their research to society with various form of outreach. Hence the research question in this paper is also the one that we need to ask ourselves, do we need a new perspective in measuring research/academic impact?

Method: This paper will combine literature review based on papers, blogs, tweets around the topic of research impact, academic impact, and publication metrics, and several raw dataset that we get from Scopus and WoS combined with DOAJ.

Results and discussions: The metrics we likely to discuss are circling around journal-level metric (eg: Impact Factor, Citefactor, Eigenfactor), article-level metric (times cited), and author-level metric (H-index). These criteria have been widely used to measure institution’s reputation. However these metrics reveals only the surficial aspect of a research or researcher impact to society. For one, although cumulative citations in a journal construct the journal’s impact factor, but the article’s citations don’t show the same correlation. Therefore if the sum of citation is the case, then as Indonesian with its 260 million of population, could add significant numbers of citation for English papers by Indonesian author. However, in our case, Indonesia is non-English speaking country, although we learn English since early age, but our active reading, writing and speaking nature is still based on Indonesia language. We tend to read and add some number of citations for Indonesian papers. Our low sum of researchers per 1000 population contributes to such phenomenon.

Conclusions: Indeed all the metrics are backed up by numbers, but they are somewhat vague in revealing the true social impact. The one impact that relates strongly in the substance of the research and how it could contribute to policy and the life of most Indonesian. This part could only be heard if the research had been widely promoted beyond the boundary of scientific papers. The university rank in international scientific network is important, but scientist’s and higher education contributions to society should not come in second. So above the WCU race, we do need a new set of perspectives to measure research/academic impact.

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