We’d like to announce the launch of our Digital Research Reports, a new quarterly series of publications about research data and analytical possibilities in a practical, applied context.

A massive volume and diversity of data is associated with research. Most people are familiar with analyses of publications and citations (bibliometrics), especially around research performance benchmarking. They are aware that such analyses have both limitations and flaws and are often misused. But performance is only one part of the publication story and bibliometrics are only one part of the data portfolio.

This series will report on what publication analysis can tell us about other aspects of researcher activity and behaviour, such as collaboration and interdisciplinarity. In the first report, we look at what researchers choose to submit for assessment compared to what they say best represents leading research in their field.

We will also report on other parts of the research ecosystem. For example, what can we learn about research activity from data about data, figures, graphs and tables? How will the system respond to mandates to make all publicly funded research data openly available? And we will also look at the other ways in which people mention and alert one another to new research papers via Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Can this be a source of valid information about the social and economic impact of research?

Overall, we aim to address the challenge of better information for people engaged in research as well as sounder and more relevant information for policy and evaluation purposes. Our reports are written for all kinds of people who deal with ‘research’, to inform, to stimulate discussion and sometimes to provoke debate. And our focus is on how to use the available numbers to deliver more, better research as well as tracking what research has already been done.

Download our first report,  Evidence for excellence: has the signal overtaken the substance? An analysis of journal articles submitted to RAE2008