The Migration Research Hub and Web of Science: Partnering to move migration research forward

2020-01-27 07:51:45

IMISCOE’s Migration Research Hub, built during the CrossMigration project, seeks to make research on migration more accessible, and to build bridges between researchers, policymakers and public opinion. A good way to do so was to engage in a partnership with the Web of Science, a leading citation index service that has helped enhance, correct, and expand the database. 

This interview with Sebastien de Harlez, Key Account Manager Belgium & the Netherlands at Clarivate Analytics, parent company of the Web of Science Group, explores the partnership, its challenges and its benefits to the scientific community and society at large. 

CrossMigration: Web of Science casts a wide web when it comes to topics and areas of research. Why did it decide to engage with CrossMigration, with its specific scope and focus?

Sebastien de Harlez: For the Web of Science there were several reasons. Our founder, Eugene Garfield, wanted to move science forward and CrossMigration presented an interesting project. Currently, migration is a hot topic, it is on people’s minds, and it is important from a human perspective. Helping move research and make it more visible definitely fits with this idea. Also, the projects are complementary. In a world of open science, both CrossMigration and Web of Science want to make science more available. And the Web of Science can double check and enrich the information that CrossMigration collected. 

For us it is also important to work with core users, the researchers, but also to go beyond and make things available to the wider public. There is a sense in these times that the wider public and decision-makers do not often understand the work of scientists and where their support and funding is going. This helps to make scientific research more transparent, and hopefully will advance support for research. 

CM: And what challenges did the partnership present?

SdH: Because we generally work with universities and libraries, and because the Web of Science Core Collection is a tool to explore what is published in general areas, we needed to rethink our approach, working with a project, and one with very specific technical requirements. Luckily, the technical teams on both sides worked very well together, and linking our API to the Migration Research Hub was not too difficult from a technical perspective. But to get there, we had to get everyone on board, and get them to understand that this project was in line with other products and services that we provide, and that it could enrich the data experience of the Migration Research Hub. 

CM: Could you elaborate on this idea of enriching the data?

SdH: More and more, we see publications that are aren't always objective and as readers, as scientists too, we have to be careful with what we read, especially online. So the validation process is more important than ever. The core idea behind Web of Science Core Collection has been to be very selective on the scientific publications on our index. The first thing that Eugene Garfield focused on was specific publications which according to objective criteria could be considered the most qualitative. Everything that is indexed is clearly validated, is impactful to the scientific world. Also, for every journal indexed we get all the metadata available, unlike other databases on the market.  And this helps the Migration Research Hub, making it more complete. 

CM: Why do you think this is important?

SdH: One of the main issues with science publications for non-scientists is that it is often very specialized, full of academic language and people don’t always understand what is being said. A major challenge for the scientific world is to better understand, and to make science more understandable, for policy makers and for non-scientists. Often, people will see that a lot of money will be invested in science, but they don’t see the outcome. 

What CrossMigration and the Migration Research Hub are doing is making information and research more widely available, and with the help of the Web of Science, also more transparent. This project has made the outcome of the research efforts more visible. 

Also, as an expert finder tool, the Migration Research Hub needs to have the most complete information on publication by experts. What Web of Science Core Collection offers is capturing all the scientists who are involved in any given publication. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing, or being unable to see, all of the experts that could be very helpful to the research community and those involved in migration questions from a policy or journalistic perspective. 

CM: And what would you like to see in the future, through this partnership and in the project?

SdH: Something that the Web of Science is working on, and that’s very relevant for the Migration Research Hub is connecting experts in different topics, or help researchers find the datasets or media that the research is based on. The Web of Science can also further give insights into the analytics, to better understand where the knowledge is being created, and how collaborations are flowing, both in academic and in funding terms. With our service to find peer reviewers, we hope that we can further support and enhance the Migration Research Hub. More than anything, the Web of Science hopes to continue this smooth collaboration, with a very innovative and human approach to migration studies. 


Thanks to Sebastien de Harlez and the Web of Science Team for the interview. For more information on the technical side of the project read here: If you’d like to know more about CrossMigration and the Migration Research Hub, read this:

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