London-based startup Mendeley, the free reference manager and academic social network, has released the Institutional Edition of its new dashboard for research and impact analysis and signed up leading academic establishments along the way.

Though many may consider academic papers to be released in a closed world for big thinkers, this type of work is often released and referenced in many places, but it’s not always so easy to track.

Mendeley’s Institutional Edition, distributed by leading Dutch library subscriptions agent Swets, displays impact measurement in real-time. Users can gain insight into how academic research is consumed, discussed and annotated with social metrics in granular detail.

The service gives institutions a method of seeing how academics are being received and what they are reading. If academics are published in journals, the reader numbers can also be tracked.

This data is built on Mendeley’s global research community of more than 1.8 million academics who are using the startup’s tools for access to 250 million research documents.

The Impact Factor

The dashboard analyses academic activity and impact on the global research community and working in real-time brings down the 3-5 year time lag of the ‘Impact Factor’, which is the current gold standard for such evaluations.

According to Mendeley, the ‘Impact Factor’, a measure of the number of citations an academic journal receives, is a pivotal metric of science. Academics have to publish in high-Impact Factor journals to receive promotions, tenure, or grant funding and universities allocate their million-dollar library budgets to those same high-Impact Factor journals.

The first customers of Mendeley’s data dashboard are premier international research institutions The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, University of Nevada – Reno, University of Pittsburgh, University of Western Ontario, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Japan.

In a bid to develop alternatives to the Impact Factor, new research metrics startups such as Altmetric and Total-impact have already turned to Mendeley’s readership data, and several peer-reviewed studies have recently highlighted its positive correlation with the Impact Factor.

Dr. Victor Henning, CEO and co-founder of Mendeley, said: “I’m excited that after receiving scientific validation from the research community, our data is now helping some of the world’s best universities work more efficiently and get to life-changing discoveries faster. My inner nerd is going: Wow, this is freaking amazing.”

Image Credit: Ed Bierman