RTD TIG Week: Evaluation of Research Collaborations Enabled through Linked Datasets by Jodi Basner

My name is Jodi Basner and I’m a Scientific Analyst on Clarivate’s Web of Science Consulting Team. It is exciting to be involved in a time, although unfortunately most recently born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, when research is exhibiting a dramatic shift toward enabling collaborations; directly through researchers providing complementary perspectives to a common research project and indirectly by researchers building complementary perspectives through publication, data, software, and resource sharing. These collaboration networks of scientists have existed for a long time but it is only now that the general public has become aware of the effective coordination of research and development that they can bring about (Katy Börner’s web-site Places & Spaces hosts a collection of many insightful networks map such as Scientific Collaborations between World Cities). 

Hot Tip: Synergizing research networks requires global perspectives on the research landscape to support prioritization of policy and funding decisions. 

Cool Tricks: To achieve global perspectives requires harmonizing disparate but complementary data sources. 

Rad Resources: A study published in Research Policy in 2019, to support mitigation of the adverse effects of unstable budget conditions, links the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) that collects information on a doctoral recipient’s education history, demographic characteristics, and post-education plans, to several universities’ data contributing to UMETRICS that is based on university payroll and financial records. 

Lessons Learned: This pilot study begins to provide perspectives that no single federal agency could provide on its own, such as funding proportion for PhD recipients by agency and field of study. As noted in this study, researchers have started to extend data linking to other outputs of the research ecosystem. I have been involved in a project to generate a research dataset linking Web of Science publications from the years 1990-2017 to the 2015 Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR), co-sponsored by the NSF National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that provides demographic, education, and career history information from individuals with a U.S. research doctoral degree in science, engineering, or health fields. This ready-to-use dataset is clean and well curated, which provides a common starting point across researchers to enable novel investigations into the international STEM workforce with doctoral training from universities in the United States.


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating RTD TIG Week with our colleagues in the Research Technology and Development TIG. All of the blog contributions this week come from our RTD TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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