Why we’re removing the RG Score (and what’s next)

March 29, 2022

Why we’re removing the RG Score (and what’s next)

At the start of this year, we announced the decision to remove the RG Score after July 2022. We’re aware that many of you found the RG Score valuable, so we’d like to provide some more detail on our thinking behind this decision and give you a sneak peek into what’s next.

What did we learn from the RG Score?

The RG Score was released in 2012 as a way for our members to get recognition for their work and contributions in a simple, trackable metric that could be used as an alternate measure of research impact. 

From the start, our members appreciated the ability to quickly evaluate their own and other researchers’ contributions to science through the RG Score. We were happy to see that the RG Score acted as a source of motivation for many to advance their research and support the community through Q&A on ResearchGate.  

On the flip side, some members were frustrated with the RG Score’s intransparency and with their research impact being bound to a single metric. We also heard from members who reported fluctuations in their score that they couldn’t explain. At the same time, we have been following the movement within the academic community towards responsible use of research metrics and a more holistic approach to assessing research impact.

Through all this, we recognized that despite the benefits that the RG Score provided to our members, we could still do better. And while all metrics usually only describe a particular facet or view and don’t tell the full story about the interest in a researcher’s work, we believe there is a place for better metrics and indicators on ResearchGate to support the community. 

Our new approach

We realized we need to adopt a more regular practice of continuous evaluation of our metrics to ensure that they work to support the science community and not harm it. To help facilitate this, we started by defining a set of criteria that we strive to follow for our metrics moving forward:

  1. Intuitive: We strive to make our metrics intuitive to understand, so that you can apply/use them responsibly. 
  2. Transparent: We strive to make the calculation and inputs of our metrics transparent for everyone.
  3. Robust: We strive to make our metrics difficult to artificially manipulate or influence and to not experience disruptive calculation changes over time.
  4. Relevant: We strive to not show our metrics out of context, pushing for their responsible use and to always provide the right context to our metrics.

Unfortunately, the RG Score doesn’t meet some of these criteria. After considering these points, together with community feedback, we made the decision to remove the RG Score.

What’s next?

For those who want the benefit of having a metric to quickly assess their own and others’ profiles to understand their contributions to science, we would encourage the adoption of Research Interest, a metric that captures the interest in a researcher’s work within the scientific community. It provides an indication of a member’s impact, but in a more intuitive, transparent, and stable way than the RG Score did. 

In addition, we will soon update your profile to showcase a set of metrics to allow a more holistic assessment of your research impact. This will include Research Interest, h-index, citations, reads, and recommendations forming the core set of metrics that we use to represent your impact to you and others on the platform. 

We believe that this holistic approach, backed up by our new metrics criteria, provides a better way forward for everyone on ResearchGate, and we’re excited to move the platform in this direction this year.

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