Altmetrics as a means of assessing scholarly output

« Career progression for scientists involves an assessment of their contribution to their field and a prediction of their future potential. Traditional measures, such as the impact factor of the journal that a researcher publishes in, may not be an appropriate or accurate means of assessing the overall output of an individual. The development of altmetrics offers the potential for fuller assessments of a researcher’s output based on both their traditional and non-traditional scholarly outputs. New tools should make it easier to include non-traditional outputs such as data, software and contributions to peer review in the evaluation of early- and mid-career researchers. »


Novel Research Impact Indicators

Citation counts and more recently usage statistics provide valuable information about the attention and research impact associated with scholarly publications.

The open access publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS) has pioneered the concept of article-level metrics, where these metrics are collected on a per article and not a per journal basis and are complemented by real-time data from the social web or altmetrics: blog posts, social bookmarks, social media and other.

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Tracing scientists’ research trends realtimely

In this research, we propose a method to trace scientists’ research trends realtimely. By monitoring the downloads of scientific articles in the journal of Scientometrics for 744 hours, namely one month, we investigate the download statistics.

Then we aggregate the keywords in these downloaded research papers, and analyze the trends of article downloading and keyword downloading. Furthermore, taking both the download of keywords and publication of articles into consideration, we design a method to detect the emerging research trends.

We find that in scientometrics field, social media, new indices to quantify scientific productivity (g-index), webometrics, semantic, text mining, open access are emerging fields that information scientists are focusing on. »


Altmetrics in the wild: Using social media to explore scholarly impact

In growing numbers, scholars are integrating social media tools like blogs, Twitter, and Mendeley into their professional communications. The online, public nature of these tools exposes and reifies scholarly processes once hidden and ephemeral. Metrics based on this activities could inform broader, faster measures of impact, complementing traditional citation metrics. This study explores the properties of these social media-based metrics or « altmetrics », sampling 24,331 articles published by the Public Library of Science.

We find that that different indicators vary greatly in activity. Around 5% of sampled articles are cited in Wikipedia, while close to 80% have been included in at least one Mendeley library. There is, however, an encouraging diversity; a quarter of articles have nonzero data from five or more different sources. Correlation and factor analysis suggest citation and altmetrics indicators track related but distinct impacts, with neither able to describe the complete picture of scholarly use alone.

There are moderate correlations between Mendeley and Web of Science citation, but many altmetric indicators seem to measure impact mostly orthogonal to citation. Articles cluster in ways that suggest five different impact « flavors », capturing impacts of different types on different audiences; for instance, some articles may be heavily read and saved by scholars but seldom cited. Together, these findings encourage more research into altmetrics as complements to traditional citation measures.