Innovation in Publishing
New Kudos service helps researchers boost their visibility and impact
including Elsevier, are beta-testing a platform that helps authors reach
a wider audience and measure the impact of their published articles
By Inez van Korlaar, PhD | Posted on 29 January 2014
Researchers are increasingly evaluated not only by the number of
articles published but also by their impact. Traditionally, the impact
of publications is measured by citations. However, not only does it take
a while before citations start to accumulate, it also provides a
limited picture of an article's impact. For that reason, other metrics –
such as readership figures; social media mentions; and captures and
shares on academic networks are becoming increasingly popular.
come in after their article has been published on the publisher's
platform. They need to play an active role in making sure their work
gets the attention it deserves.
This is where a new service called Kudos comes in.
What is Kudos?Kudos
helps researchers and their institutions and funders "measure, monitor
and maximize" the visibility and impact of their published articles, in
the words of its founders. It builds on three core principles:
- Readers are increasingly struggling to filter the growing quantity of published research.
that supports the ability of users to filter their searches – such as
lay summaries and impact statements – often exists but is not made
- Authors are in the best position to increase the awareness and impact of their work, but they don't always know how.
provides a platform for assembling and creating information to help
search filtering, for sharing information to drive discovery, and for
measuring and monitoring the effect of both activities.
How Kudos worksAfter
publication of their article, authors will receive an e-mail asking
them to log on to the Kudos platform. On the platform, they will be led
through various steps that prompt them to explain their article; add
context via links to other content such as images and data; and share
their article via social networks and e-mail.
The Kudos platform will then enable authors to see the effect of their actions on altmetrics (via Altmetric.com) and usage data.
service is free for users; publishers pay a fee for their authors to
receive a premium level of service, including customized guidance on how
to make best use of the service, and the addition of usage data to help
authors evaluate the impact of their efforts.
Elsevier's partnership with Kudos
Charlie: How did you come up with the idea for Kudos?
David and I (the co-founders of Kudos) also provide consultancy to
publishers on various aspects of business development, online content
delivery, communications and so on. During occasional collaborations, we
would find ourselves discussing the challenges facing publishers and
their communities today: readers' difficulties in navigating the growing
wealth of scholarly literature; the way current workflows seem
unintentionally to disengage authors from what happens to their research
after it is published; the rise of article-level metrics; changes in
researcher evaluation; the evolution of discovery channels; and the need
for publishers to provide ever more competitive author services. It was
when we started considering all these trends together – as separate
problems that might have a common solution – that the idea for Kudos
The team behind KudosKudos was founded by Melinda Kenneway and Charlie Rapple, Director and Associate Director of the specialist marketing agency TBI Communications, and David Sommer, director of David Sommer Consulting.
All three have years of experience in various marketing, publishing and
business development roles in the scholarly publishing industry. Other
team members are Leigh Dodds, Chief Technology Officer; Louise Russell,
General Manager; and Charlotte Van Rooyen, Author Relations Manager.
They are based in the UK.
to create lots of supporting "assets" that help explain their work to
funders, institutions, colleagues and students. But these assets often
don't get made more widely available. What if they could be surfaced to
help readers more quickly appraise and filter more in-depth literature?
What if publishers could provide authors with guidance and tools to make
better use of their existing networks to help share this material more
widely – and could incentivize authors to do so by providing data that
demonstrated the effect of such sharing on important metrics such as
We spent several months discussing all the
potential facets of this idea, and slowly distilling it down to the
simple proposition that we have developed in Kudos' first phase – a
web-based service that helps researchers and their institutions maximize
their visibility and impact by enriching, explaining and sharing their
research more widely.
Lucy: From your perspective, why is a service like Kudos important to Elsevier's authors?
say I'm a researcher and I'm investigating a molecule that is involved
in improving night vision in goldfish. I've got some great results from
the first phase of my research, which I've published in one of
Elsevier's journals. But in order to get the funding I need – which is
in short supply – I need to show the impact of my research and
demonstrate that I'm engaging with the public about it.
where Kudos comes in. By providing me with the guidance and tools I need
to make a splash, Kudos helps me tell the story of my research in an
understandable way to a big audience. I can write a simple summary of
the results, and use this as a basis for a whole range of
communications: I share my article on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; I
email it to a big list of my colleagues; and then I track the results on
Kudos's platform. I can see an immediate spike in downloads after my
Tweet, and an increase in citations following my email. I can show
impact and engagement.
Thousands of Elsevier authors also have a
story to tell and an impact to make. Kudos gives them the guidance and
tools to do that.
Charlie: Could you tell us about the alpha launch and what results you've had?
launched our pilot site in September. We had set ourselves the target
of getting 1,000 authors to use the site during the three-month pilot
period. In fact, 1,000 authors signed up in the first 24 hours. By the
end of the pilot, we had over 5,500 registered authors. They have
claimed articles, enhanced them with additional metadata (such as a
short title and lay summary) and links to related resources, and shared
them via email and social networks. We are still analyzing the full
results but it has been exciting to see the additional traffic being
generated by authors' participation in Kudos. For example, some of the
tweets sent out via the Kudos system have generated hundreds of
click-throughs that have then corresponded to an increase in usage of
the full text at the publisher site. It's also been interesting to see
that this has happened across a range of subject areas, and that those
having success using Kudos aren't necessarily long-established social
media stars – for example, one author who has generated a lot of traffic
via Kudos had only signed up for Twitter in the last few months.
Charlie: What changes will you be making in the beta phase?
will be focused on length and breadth. A new release of the Kudos
service will go live in April and will run until at least the end of the
year, giving us a much longer window in which to evaluate the effect of
Kudos activities on visibility, usage and citations.
We will be
working with a much wider group of publishers, articles and authors,
with 15 publishers (including Elsevier) already signed up for 2014 and
several more expected to join the service in the next month or so. This
will enable us to undertake more rigorous analysis of the effectiveness
of the service, and to explore variables such as subscription versus
We will also broaden the functionality offered
through the service, with interface enhancements for authors, and an
enterprise-level toolkit to enable publishers, societies, institutions
and funders to support and report on the activities of their authors.
we'll broaden the distribution of Kudos metadata so that the efforts
invested in the service by authors are enhanced, helping to increase
their visibility in a wide range of both academic and general discovery
Lucy: Could you say something about how Kudos fits in with other initiatives you are working on?
publishes thousands of articles every week, many of which we don't get
to hear about. One of the projects we're currently working on aims to
maximize the impact of research with a wider significance. We already
communicate about research published in Elsevier's journals regularly,
both via our press office to the media, and via the marketing department
through our other communication channels. But with so many articles
flying by, it's not always easy to identify the ones that might be
interesting to a non-scientific audience, or relevant for a news story,
interview or video.
Through our Content Marketing project, we're
trialing new ways of identifying fascinating research as it comes in,
making sure that the top stories don't slip through the net. We then
have a package of resources to help us identify the best channels for
telling the story, and to develop the content – be that a feature
article, Facebook poll or image gallery – in partnership with the
Kudos is a great complement to this project – it casts the
net even wider than we already do and puts authors in the driving seat,
enabling them to publicize their own work. It also helps us to identify
great stories we haven't already picked up. With the Content Marketing
project and Kudos, we can work with Elsevier authors to really make a
splash with the great research published in our journals, helping the
authors show the impact of their work, and engage with a wider audience.
Charlie: What is your ambition for the future of Kudos?
term, we would like to see Kudos help researchers build their profile
and manage their reputations – connecting together different research
activities and communications such that articles don't exist in
isolation, but as part of a wider research story. Building on this, we'd
like to become better integrated with research, communication and
evaluation workflows so that, by bringing information together in one
place and providing notifications and other services, we can help to
create efficiencies for authors, institutions, funders and others.
immediately, we will help researchers to build their networks, to plan
how best to use their time, and to create simple resources (such as
videos) that will help increase the accessibility of their work. We'll
incorporate a wider range of both traditional and alternative metrics to
give researchers choice as to how they benchmark themselves and where
they focus their efforts.
Elsevier Connect Contributor
is responsible for the global marketing communication projects for the
STM Journals department. She has a PhD in health psychology from Leiden University and is based in Amsterdam.
New Kudos service helps researchers boost their visibility and impact | Elsevier Connect