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Knowledgespeak Exclusive: An interview with Keith MacGregor, Executive Vice President for Scientific Scholarly Research, Thomson Reuters - 12 Oct 2010

Q

Knowledgespeak: Today we have Keith MacGregor, Executive Vice President for Scientific Scholarly Research from Thomson Reuters. Thanks so much for coming, we really appreciate you coming out and sharing your time with us.

Our first question today is associated with the Global Institutional Profiles Project. Can you briefly talk about this new project and in what ways is this new initiative expected to reshape how administrators approach institutional comparisons?

A

Keith MacGregor: Thank you and I am certainly delighted to be here today. The Global Institutional Profiles Project is a data gathering initiative, where we worked with hundreds of institutions around the world, to carry out the first reputational survey to collect data on things like grants, student population and staffing degrees granted. The first use of that dataset was for delivery of information along with publication and citation data-- that were derived from the Web of Science --to the Times higher education group. They in turn use that to develop the Times Higher Education World University rankings, which we just released about three weeks ago. Early next year, Thomson Reuters is going to launch a new product on its Insights platform that uses a combination of all these data to help present multidimensional profiles on these institutions. This will be for several hundred research institutions around the world. An important distinction that I want to make is that our product is not about rankings, but rather presenting a profile or portrait of the institution reflecting its multilayered complexity and allowing for comparisons on a broad set of both data and indicators.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Thanks very much. Thomson Reuters has signed agreements with Serials Solutions and EBSCO to provide access to Web of Science content. What is the business model behind making available Thomson products like Web of Science through web scale services like SUMMON and EBSCO Discovery Service.

A

Keith MacGregor: First of all, the way our customers work and the tools they are using are in a constantly evolving state of change. Our goal is to obviously ensure that our customers can have access to our data in a variety of different ways. That is one of the reasons why we have teamed up with Serial solution as well as EBSCO. We have also made an announcement that we are working with ExLibris Primo Central. Again, we are looking to making this open to as many different ways for our customers to get access. Our goal is to ensure that they not only have access to our data, but that we remain flexible about how they access to our information. It is all about fitting into the work flows of our customers on an ongoing basis.


Q

Knowledgespeak: That is very interesting. Here our next question. The Web has seen the growth of many citation information products. Can you briefly explain the model behind citations/impact factors? How are scientific papers and journals ranked and evaluated? In what ways is Web of Knowledge different from other similar products like Scopus, CiteSeer, SciFinder and Google Scholar.

A

Keith MacGregor: The founder of ISI, Dr. Eugene Garfield, really revolutionized research when he introduced the citation index 50 years ago. So, in addition to obviously our being the first out there with the Science Citation Index, we are also been known more synonymously for both quality and integrity for the last 50 years. I think it is also important to note that in terms of the depth of our coverage going to back on cited references to the 1900s. So we have more than 100 years of important data from which people can gather this information. It is also important to note that our rigorous and very transparent journal selection process helps to ensure that our readers and our customers get access to only the top quality research in the journals that are being represented in our database.

I think another important point is that the journal impact factors that are represented in the journal citation reports are certainly both an easily understood and easily repeatable formula. We are very transparent about how those journal impact factors are created and being able to benchmark them against other journals in their category.

I think one of the unique value propositions that we have--both with the cited references going back more than 50 years and Journal Citation Reports® having been created more than 30 years ago--is that this has become the benchmark and the quality indicator for journals around the world.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Excellent, thank you. In January of 2010, Thomson Reuters acquired Discovery Logic, Inc. How has this acquisition helped the company enhance its research analytics offerings?

A

Keith MacGregor: One of the things we have seen is that there has been an increasing need and demand for global understanding and analytics on both grants, experts and research outcomes. Discovery Logic, as an organization, helps to bring in both software analytics and data mining capabilities combined with the proprietary data of Thomson Reuters to help create extraordinary workflow solutions and services to help our customers both understand and improve their outcomes. Discovery Logic has worked very closely with a number of government agencies over time and we believe that those capabilities are clearly transferable to other areas around the world for those who are interested in both measuring research output and research outcome performance, including the major universities as well as governments around the world.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Okay, great. A recent trend among leading citation databases and other publishers is to develop author databases, author disambiguation etc, with the objective of developing unique author profiles and providing unique author identification systems like DOI for articles. We know Thomson Scientific has also come with such initiatives in the form of ResearcherID. Could you briefly talk about this initiative? What value does it provide to the authors and the end users of your products?

A

Keith MacGregor: ResearcherID is a free global and multidisciplinary scholar research community that assigns a unique identifier for each individual and then enables that individual to associate his or her own scholarly works and output to their unique ID. As a result, the added benefit to the researchers is that those who use the Web of Knowledge are then able to create links between their publications and go straight back into the Web of Knowledge. They are also able to derive a citation matrix from that and be able to understand the importance of their work to the scholarly and research community. Future releases of our Web of Knowledge platform will more closely integrate a lot of those capabilities with the researcher ID. I think it is also important to note that Thomson Reuters has played a leadership role in the development of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID Network and we are looking to work with the global research community to create something that can be used on a worldwide basis to help disambiguate names going forward.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Fantastic, thanks for that. Publishers today are increasingly making content available in mobile format. What does mobile technology mean for the future of publishing for your organization?

A

Keith MacGregor: Well, the whole world is obviously moving towards a virtual and mobile environment, and I think Thomson Reuters is well positioned to be able to address that. We have been working very closely with our customers in terms of understanding what their needs are in making our information available in a variety of different formats. As I mentioned before, we are working with a number of groups make it available through Summon and similar services. We are also looking to make it available on mobile devices as well.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Okay, great. About the Frankfurt Book Fair itself -- Can you share with us any interesting events of trends that you have seen so far and how the needs of information consumers may have evolved bring these trends about?

A

Keith MacGregor: Well, from Thomson Reuter’s standpoint, this is a very important event. We have a mix of customers across many groups--academic, publishers, researchers--that have come to the Frankfurt Book Fair. All of these groups are involved and interested in research work done and we have different applications and solutions and content that meet all those various needs. What we have found is that more and more of these people want seamless access. The researcher, who is also doing discovery, wants to be able to find that information quickly and be able to input it into a bibliographic database. They want it to be able to format it for the manuscript and be able to submit it to a journal, The publisher wants to be able to quickly get that information in the right format, so they can quickly go to production. I would say the other major thing that I have seen, which is probably not surprising, is it’s an increasingly demanding information consumer market that wants the exact information they want as quickly and as rapidly as possible.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Excellent. Thanks so much. We really appreciate your time in coming out for the interview today and we hope you are enjoying the Fair. Thanks again.

A

Kevin McGregor: Thank you.


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