What are Blue Demons Researching? Using Scopus to Explore Institutional Research Impact

Last Summer, the DePaul University Library began a subscription to Scopus, a multidisciplinary abstract and citation database developed to help researchers identify scholarly literature in the sciences, social sciences, medicine, and arts and humanities. One feature that sets Scopus apart from other databases in our collection is the ability to use it to get a bird’s-eye view of a research topic and the journals, institutions, and funding agencies that are invested in it.

What is Scopus?

As of December 2023, Scopus includes approximately 94 million records for articles, book chapters, and conference presentations published in over 29,000 journals and trade publications and over 330,000 books. As these items are added to the database, they are systemically indexed and enriched with additional metadata, which means that author affiliations, funding sponsors, and article references are searchable fields alongside more standard fields like author, title, abstract, and keyword. This data is all linked together and cross-referenced within the database to facilitate discovery of related content and ideas. An added bonus: it’s possible to export a lot of this metadata to do your own analysis of the scholarly conversation surrounding your research topic.

Getting to Know Blue Demons’ Research

To demonstrate features of the database, I used Scopus to answer some questions about recent research at DePaul. I hope that you’ll find the insights as interesting as I did!

These results are based on searching Scopus for documents where the affiliation field includes DePaul, meaning at least one of the authors listed DePaul University as their home institution when the item was published. I’ve also narrowed things down to the past five years, looking at documents published from 2017 onwards. Try it yourself!

How much have Blue Demons published in the last five years?

According to Scopus, DePaul researchers have published 4,162 unique pieces of scholarship since 2017. Included in that number are 2,660 academic journal articles and 72 books. DePaul’s research output includes 1,353 open access publications, which are freely available to interested researchers worldwide without a paywall.

Who publishes most frequently?

Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Community Research, Dr. Leonard Jason, is our most published Blue Demon, with 170 publications in the last 5 years. Keep in mind, of course, that this output reflects the disciplinary norms in Psychology where multi-author papers reflecting the work of a research team are common.

What is the most frequently cited article by a Blue Demon researcher?

According to Scopus, the article “Is Augmented Reality Technology an Effective Tool for E-commerce? An Interactivity and Vividness Perspective” co-authored by Dr. Shu-Chuan Chi, Professor and Program Director of Public Relations and Advertising has been cited 449 times since it was published in August 2017 in the Journal of Interactive Marketing.

Which scholarly journals do Blue Demons publish in most often?

Some of the top publications for sharing research conducted at DePaul include the American Journal of Community Psychology, Latino Studies, PLOS One, Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, Business & Professional Communication Quarterly, and the Journal of Popular Romance Studies

Who funds the research done at DePaul?

To support this scholarly output, our researchers have benefited from external research grants from a wide range of sources, including the National Science Foundation (321 papers), the National Institutes of Health (246 papers), the Simons Foundation (40 papers), the European Research Council (17 papers), the US Forest Service (10 papers), the US Department of Education (10 papers), and more.

How does the research conducted at DePaul contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

One of the benefits of having such a large data set to work with is the opportunity to cluster information in novel ways and to highlight interdisciplinary research dedicated to solving real world problems. One of the unique features of Scopus is their attempt to map articles to the UN Sustainable Development Goals using machine learning. To see where DePaul fits in, I explored the test version of DePaul’s Organization Profile in Scopus, which takes into account all documents in the database that have a DePaul affiliation. According to our profile, Blue Demons’ research has contributed to the understanding of Good Health and Well-being, Gender Equality, Reducing Inequality, and Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

It’s worth mentioning that the contributions of Blue Demons to solving important real world problems extend beyond the realm of scholarly publications, through creative work, community engagement, media appearances and editorials, and of course through the teaching and learning that remains at the heart of our community. Despite the depth of coverage of Scopus, no single resource provides a comprehensive picture of the scholarly conversation in a field.

Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the research activity at DePaul! What do you think? Could you use a database like Scopus to better understand the scholarly conversation in your area of interest? What other tools and resources would you like to know more about?

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