Life, the Universe and Excel – the year 2021 for the metrics team


Now that corona has closed almost all the library units and customer service points what does the library staff do? Most of the library work is actually even in normal times done out of sight.  Therefore, even if the library units are mostly closed, there is plenty of work done. One of those tasks that are not so familiar or visible to library users is bibliometric and evaluation work, which is carried out by the library’s metrics team.

The year 2021 has been exceptional for the metrics team not only because of the pandemic but also because the team has been involved in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) project. Normally the metrics team works with the training and guidance of tools for the evaluation of scientific publications:  for example how to find Publication Forum levels or Impact factors, what kind of restrictions does h-index have and questions related to Web of Science and Scopus databases.  The team also produces citation analyses for funding grants. This year has been unusual: the team has been working mainly with the preparation of data for the RAE bibliometric analysis.

The RAE bibliometric analysis examines the University of Turku publications from years 2014-2019. The metrics team collects and completes the publication data of UTUCRIS and sends the completed data to CWTS Leiden. In Leiden, more advanced analyses are made, for example citation analyses for publications included in Web of Science database. In some areas of science Web of Science does not cover enough publications, so the metrics team performs additional  analyses for some units. 

R is the best!  What have we learned about the RAE project

During the RAE project, the publication data has been supplemented and cross-checked, different analyzing and graph options have been tested, new programs have been learned and instructions and documentation have been written. All kinds of processes have been planned – and some complete turnarounds and re-planning has been done.

The actual processing of publication data has not changed after shifting to remote work – the data is handled as before. The RAE process has made the team appreciate even more the work of all those who manage publication information: the quality of publication data is created by the people who work with university’s research information system (UTUCRIS).

My excels are crashing, can somebody help?  - Collaboration  and remote work

Even if we are all missing working together in the office, there has not been lack of sense of community and support. Working together has been easy and seamless after becoming familiar with Skype, Teams, Zoom and other online meeting programs: sometimes problems have been even easier to solve than before by sharing the screen and talking.

In order to maintain work well-being, the team has had not only regular team meetings but also special RAE meetings once a week. These meetings have been the time and place to talk not only about the progress of the project but most importantly about those things that didn’t go so well… When working from home even small problems can seem overwhelming sometimes – and therefore it is important to hear that also others are struggling with the same kind of difficulties: crashing documents or tiny irritating mistakes that take hours to fix.

When working long hours with large documents, it is important that tools and connections are working well, and for example, extra screens for laptop will help to beat the screen fatigue.

Hey, your mic is muted! Is there any life outside the RAE project

Even if the RAE project takes a great deal of team´s time, other metrics-related tasks are done as well: training webinars are being held, guide for evaluating publications is being updated, some smaller bibliometric analyses are being done and national bibliometric co-operation project is being participated. 

In any metrics-related questions do not hesitate to contact the metrics team – please send us email 


Created 09.06.2021 | Updated 09.06.2021