Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service - News from research support services

Month: May 2020

Data analysis software

Did you know that Campus IT has made available a Software Hub where you will find all the software available under the University’s site licenses? It’s available on a public Sharepoint site, where you can download the software and see How-to-guides. It consists mostly of data analysis software such as Mathematica, SAS, SPSS, Statistica and Matlab.



It is also important to be aware of free data analysis software. Here are some examples:

Data cleaning
Statistical analysis
Qualitative analysis
  • Dedoose (Free for first month, thereafter you only pay a minimal amount in the months that you actually use the tool)
Data visualisation applications and tools
Social and other network analysis

Free COVID-19 portal on Pure

Elsevier made available a free COVID-19 portal on Pure. It is possible to identify potential research collaborators in areas related to the coronavirus epidemic.

You can search a set of researchers and research institutions whose prior publications indicate potentially relevant expertise related to the novel coronavirus. The following categories are available to conduct your search: researcher profiles, researcher units, relevant research, datasets and media items about the research.
See more information on how to use this portal.

How can you improve your impact as author/researcher?

Earlier this week the Library presented a workshop on Maximising your research impact. You are welcome to view the powerpoint here, but herewith also a short summary of important steps to take:

Make sure to publish strategically

  • Carefully take note of the Instructions to Authors of the specific journal
  •  Be careful of predatory publishers
  • Publish Open Access, not only your final product, but also your research data (SUNScholarData), code (Github), software, presentations(Slideshare), working papers
  • Journal metrics: Use Web of Science or Scopus for analysing journal metrics in order to make sure you publish in a high impact journal (Journal Impact Factor, Citescore, SNIP, Scimago Journal Rank, etc)
  • Make sure the journal is accredited to receive subsidy from the DHET
  • Create a unique author identifier to ensure that you are able to track citations to your research and that your research can be found continuously (ORCID library guide)

Measure your author and article impact

  • Citation analysis is a way of measuring the impact of an author, an article, by counting the number of times that author, article or publication has been cited by other works.
  • Use different author metrics and not only the H-Index (G-Index and M-Index for example)
  • Also consider other aspects of a candidate’s career, such as discipline, and how many collaborators a researcher works with, etc.
  • Remember to measure your social media posts, media mentions, readers, downloads of articles, etc. with Altmetrics (, Plum Analytics in Scopus and Ebsco, ImpactStory, etc)

Networking: Know how to find collaborators

  • ResearchGate
  • Academia
  • Social Science Research Network
  • Mendeley
  • LinkedIn

Promote your work with Social Media and other public engagement

  • Actively make time for public engagement
  • Use Facebook, Twitter to promote your research
  • Start a blog or personal website about your research/research group
  • Learn about which research will make the news: Newsworthy-infographic

Other useful reading on the topic:

Maximizing your Research Impact


Taylor and Francis’ author guide

University of Berkeley Library Guide

Need any assistance?

Contact: Marié Roux

Does the H-Index matter?

Recently two articles on the H-Index caught my attention. The one, What is wrong with the H-Index? is about how Jorge Hirsch, the creator of the H-Index, criticized the current use of it. And the other was a case study on how the University of Groningen handles research impact services. They moved away from  using the journal impact factor (IF) and the H-index, and started to use article-level metrics such as field-weighted citation impact (FWCI).

What is the H-Index?  It is a metric that takes into account both the number of papers a researcher has published and how many citations they receive. It has become a popular tool for assessing job candidates and grant applicants. The formula on how it is calculated:  the number of publications for which an author has been cited by other authors at least that same number of times.

According to the above article Jorge Hirsch wrote in January 2020 in the Physics and Society newsletter that the H-Index can “fail spectacularly and have severe unintended negative consequences”.

Hirsch asked hiring committees and funding agencies to not only rely on the H-Index, but also to consider other aspects of a candidate’s career, such as discipline, and how many collaborators a researcher works with.

“One has to look at the nature of the work,” … “If you make decisions just based on someone’s H-index, you can end up hiring the wrong person or denying a grant to someone who is much more likely to do something important. It has to be used carefully.”