Using publication-based analytical platforms in planning scientific events

When planning an event for a scientific association, how might an organiser choose the destination country, an institution to host the event, and a researcher to be keynote speaker? Günther Hansen of Elsevier, a company that runs publication-based analytical platforms, presented one such solution on 2 November at the 59th ICCA Congress 2020, for which Luxembourg served as regional co-host.

Appearing digitally from Heidelberg, Germany, Mr Hansen showcased his company’s platform SciVal, which is powered by data from Scopus, the largest abstract and index database in the world. Scopus adds to its database three million new publications every year.

Hypothetical case: an automotive engineering event focused on biodiesel

Mr Hansen showed how an event planner from the field of automotive engineering, for example, might use SciVal to plan an event. The planner might wish to focus this year’s event on the most prominent topic in the field, which using the platform one can discover is biodiesel – having been written about in 31,000 publications in the last five years.

The event planner may wonder if hosting a conference on biodiesel in her country makes sense, and if not, where should such an event be held? Using SciVal, the planner can learn which countries contribute the most research on this topic, and beyond that, which country has the greatest ‘field-weighted citation impact’, a good indicator of the quality of research. The planner would discover that Russia is the rising star in biodiesel research, and she could go on to narrow the search to find the most prominent institution researching biodiesel and even the most prominent individual researcher. Such a figure could make an ideal keynote speaker.

SciVal, the presentation made clear, is a powerful, handy tool for an event planner from any scientific field, and it is very useful in wading through the some 95,000 research topics and tens of millions of publications that currently exist.

Key points

  • Research publication analysis is useful in identifying research topic prominence.
  • SciVal can be used for planning scientific conferences by helping to identify trends, key institutions, and prominent and heavily cited researchers.