According to ResearchGate, the academic social networking site, their RG Score is “a new way to measure your scientific reputation”. With such high aims, Peter Kraker, Katy Jordan and Elisabeth Lex take a closer look at the opaque metric. By reverse engineering the score, they find that a significant weight is linked to ‘impact points’ – a similar metric to the widely discredited journal impact factor. Transparency in metrics is the only way scholarly measures can be put into context and the only way biases – which are inherent in all socially created metrics – can be uncovered.
Metrics are very important. They decide who gets hired and promoted, help us judge the value of research that’s funded, and what new research gets funding. However, it’s important to recognize that impact measures – whether citations, downloads, tweets or shares – shouldn’t be confused with the kind of scientific impact that matters most.
Paul Magrs was flabbergasted when an institution he hadnât heard from in years asked if it could use his work to show impact. Here is his reply