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What is Altmetrics?
The Internet has transformed scholarly communication, including the traditional process of measuring the impact of published research. Altmetrics is the alternative metric to using only journal impact factor and personal indices (e.g. the H-index) to quantify the reach and impact of publications of individual researchers. It has its roots in the twitter #altmetrics hashtag since 2010. Altmetrics does not substitute citation counts or the H-index, but complements the article impact within the scholarly community and beyond. Citations are slow to accumulate and often overlook new forms of scholarly content through datasets, software and scholarly blogs.
How to measure Altmetrics
Altmetric tools allow researchers to collect and share the broad impact of their research. Below are some of the more popular tools:
Allows researchers to create an online profile that gathers usage data from the many online research-sharing platforms such as YouTube, Wikipedia, Vimeo, Slideshare, Scopus, PubMed, PLoS, Mendeley, Figshare, Dryad, Delicious, CiteULike, Twitter, blogs and Facebook. Profile data can be exported for further analysis, and users can receive alerts about new impacts.
Offers unique metrics such as WorldCat holdings and downloads and pageviews from some publishers, institutional repositories and EBSCO databases. The service is available via a subscription. There is a free demo version available.
Offers a service called the Altmetric score, which is a single-number summary of the attention an article has received online. Sources tracked include social and traditional media, comments on publications from peer-review websites, reference managers like Mendeley as well as public policy documents
Advantages to Altmetics
A clearer understanding of impact, showing which scholarly work are read, discussed, saved and suggested, as well as cited.
- It offers more current data, viewing impact of it in days, instead of years.
- Keep track on the impact of online scholarly products like datasets, software, blog posts and videos.
- It shows the impacts on diverse audiences, from scholars to practitioners, clinicians, educators and the general public.
[Taken from: Altmetrics: What, Why and Where?]
Scholarly peer networks
A platform for academics to share research papers, has incorporated impact metrics, which includes profile views, document views and country based page traffic.
A citation manager, allows researchers to chart the views and downloads of their research through the portal.
A social networking site for researchers to share their papers, find collaborators, ask and answer questions and receive stats about downloads and citations of research
Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
Comprises of 20 specialised subject networks, has metrics that include citations, top papers, top authors and top institutions.
A open source semantic web application, allows a network of researchers to collaborate, within and between institutions, for scholarly discovery.
What is Article-Level Metrics?
Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) provides a more informed view of the performance and reach of an article. Its impact indicators capture how many times an article has been bookmarked, blogged about or cited in Wikipedia. It also captures favourites and news stories and measures the usage of social media like Twitter, Google plus and Facebook. These metrics provide the ability to navigate and discover the work of other researchers.
An example of ALMs used in journals published by the Public Library of Science:
Publishers and information providers using ALMs
The Altmetric score appears on the article detail page and gives details about the ALM data for that article via the Altmetric site. This score appears alongside the traditional metrics.
The Altmetric score appears in all articles published in BMJ Journals.
This publishing platform allows the use of ALMs for publishers using their platform.
Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
The NPG uses Altmetric tools to display data regarding an article’s reach. UWC Library subscribes to Nature from the NPG.
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Upon publication, every article published by PLoS has the ALMs available.
This database has incorporated ALMs in its search results in collaboration with the company, Altmetric.
Altmetrics and Open Access
There is an association between altmetrics and open access, as data comes from open sources. Altmetrics can be embedded into institutional repositories or third-party systems. Open access research outputs are promoted via social web applications and has higher visibility and accessibility than those published within subscription-based journals. This may increase the level of engagement by the public.
Picture credit: art designer at PLoS [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons