Do altmetrics assess societal impact in the same way as case studies? An empirical analysis testing the convergent validity of altmetrics based on data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Authors : Lutz Bornmann, Robin Haunschild, Jonathan Adams

Altmetrics have been proposed as a way to assess the societal impact of research. Although altmetrics are already in use as impact or attention metrics in different contexts, it is still not clear whether they really capture or reflect societal impact.

This study is based on altmetrics, citation counts, research output and case study data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF), and peers’ REF assessments of research output and societal impact. We investigated the convergent validity of altmetrics by using two REF datasets: publications submitted as research output (PRO) to the REF and publications referenced in case studies (PCS).

Case studies, which are intended to demonstrate societal impact, should cite the most relevant research papers. We used the MHq’ indicator for assessing impact – an indicator which has been introduced for count data with many zeros.

The results of the first part of the analysis show that news media as well as mentions on Facebook, in blogs, in Wikipedia, and in policy-related documents have higher MHq’ values for PCS than for PRO.

Thus, the altmetric indicators seem to have convergent validity for these data. In the second part of the analysis, altmetrics have been correlated with REF reviewers’ average scores on PCS. The negative or close to zero correlations question the convergent validity of altmetrics in that context.

We suggest that they may capture a different aspect of societal impact (which can be called unknown attention) to that seen by reviewers (who are interested in the causal link between research and action in society).

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.03977

Social media metrics for new research evaluation

Authors : Paul Wouters, Zohreh Zahedi, Rodrigo Costas

This chapter approaches, both from a theoretical and practical perspective, the most important principles and conceptual frameworks that can be considered in the application of social media metrics for scientific evaluation.

We propose conceptually valid uses for social media metrics in research evaluation. The chapter discusses frameworks and uses of these metrics as well as principles and recommendations for the consideration and application of current (and potentially new) metrics in research evaluation.

URL  : https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.10541

Analysing researchers’ outreach efforts and the association with publication metrics: A case study of Kudos

Authors : Mojisola Erdt, Htet Htet Aung, Ashley Sara Aw, Charlie Rapple, Yin-Leng Theng

With the growth of scholarly collaboration networks and social communication platforms, members of the scholarly community are experimenting with their approach to disseminating research outputs, in an effort to increase their audience and outreach.

However, from a researcher’s point of view, it is difficult to determine whether efforts to make work more visible are worthwhile (in terms of the association with publication metrics) and within that, difficult to assess which platform or network is most effective for sharing work and connecting to a wider audience.

We undertook a case study of Kudos (https://www.growkudos.com), a web-based service that claims to help researchers increase the outreach of their publications, to examine the most effective tools for sharing publications online, and to investigate which actions are associated with improved metrics.

We extracted a dataset from Kudos of 830,565 unique publications claimed by authors, for which 20,775 had actions taken to explain or share via Kudos, and for 4,867 of these full text download data from publishers was available.

Findings show that researchers are most likely to share their work on Facebook, but links shared on Twitter are more likely to be clicked on. A Mann-Whitney U test revealed that a treatment group (publications having actions in Kudos) had a significantly higher median average of 149 full text downloads (23.1% more) per publication as compared to a control group (having no actions in Kudos) with a median average of 121 full text downloads per publication.

These findings suggest that performing actions on publications, such as sharing, explaining, or enriching, could help to increase the number of full text downloads of a publication.

URL : Analysing researchers’ outreach efforts and the association with publication metrics: A case study of Kudos

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183217

Allegation of scientific misconduct increases Twitter attention

Authors : Lutz Bornmann, Robin Haunschild

The web-based microblogging system Twitter is a very popular altmetrics source for measuring the broader impact of science. In this case study, we demonstrate how problematic the use of Twitter data for research evaluation can be, even though the aspiration of measurement is degraded from impact to attention measurement.

We collected the Twitter data for the paper published by Yamamizu et al. (2017). An investigative committee found that the main figures in the paper are fraudulent.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.00606

The counting house: measuring those who count. Presence of Bibliometrics, Scientometrics, Informetrics, Webometrics and Altmetrics in the Google Scholar Citations, ResearcherID, ResearchGate, Mendeley & Twitter

Authors : Alberto Martin-Martin, Enrique Orduna-Malea, Juan M. Ayllon, Emilio Delgado Lopez-Cozar

Following in the footsteps of the model of scientific communication, which has recently gone through a metamorphosis (from the Gutenberg galaxy to the Web galaxy), a change in the model and methods of scientific evaluation is also taking place.

A set of new scientific tools are now providing a variety of indicators which measure all actions and interactions among scientists in the digital space, making new aspects of scientific communication emerge.

In this work we present a method for capturing the structure of an entire scientific community (the Bibliometrics, Scientometrics, Informetrics, Webometrics, and Altmetrics community) and the main agents that are part of it (scientists, documents, and sources) through the lens of Google Scholar Citations.

Additionally, we compare these author portraits to the ones offered by other profile or social platforms currently used by academics (ResearcherID, ResearchGate, Mendeley, and Twitter), in order to test their degree of use, completeness, reliability, and the validity of the information they provide.

A sample of 814 authors (researchers in Bibliometrics with a public profile created in Google Scholar Citations was subsequently searched in the other platforms, collecting the main indicators computed by each of them.

The data collection was carried out on September, 2015. The Spearman correlation was applied to these indicators (a total of 31) , and a Principal Component Analysis was carried out in order to reveal the relationships among metrics and platforms as well as the possible existence of metric cluster.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1602.02412

Social Media Attention Increases Article Visits: An Investigation on Article-Level Referral Data of PeerJ

Authors : Xianwen Wang, Yunxue Cui, Qingchun Li, Xinhui Guo

In order to better understand the effect of social media in the dissemination of scholarly articles, employing the daily updated referral data of 110 PeerJ articles collected over a period of 345 days, we analyze the relationship between social media attention and article visitors directed by social media.

Our results show that social media presence of PeerJ articles is high. About 68.18% of the papers receive at least one tweet from Twitter accounts other than @PeerJ, the official account of the journal.

Social media attention increases the dissemination of scholarly articles. Altmetrics could not only act as the complement of traditional citation measures but also play an important role in increasing the article downloads and promoting the impacts of scholarly articles. There also exists a significant correlation among the online attention from different social media platforms.

Articles with more Facebook shares tend to get more tweets. The temporal trends show that social attention comes immediately following publication but does not last long, so do the social media directed article views.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.02383

Making the Mission Visible: Altmetrics and Nontraditional Publishing

Authors : Jennifer L. Bonnet, Marisa Méndez-Brady

Purpose

Whereas traditional book and journal publishing remain the gold standard for many post-secondary institutions, nontraditional publishing is just as prolific at the flagship university in Maine. The university has strong land and sea grant missions that drive a broad research agenda, with an emphasis on community outreach and engagement.

However, the impact of researchers’ contributions outside of academe is unlikely to be accurately reflected in promotion, tenure or review processes. Thus, the authors designed a series of altmetrics workshops aimed at seeding conversations around novel ways to track the impact of researchers’ diverse scholarly and creative outputs.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a case study of the instructional approach taken at the University of Maine library to facilitate discussions of alternative impact assessments that reach beyond traditional publications.

Findings

Evaluations revealed an increased awareness of, and interest in, impact tracking tools that capture both traditional scholarship, like journal articles, and nontraditional scholarly and creative outputs, such as videos, podcasts and newsletters.

The authors learned that altmetrics provides an entry point into a broader conversation about scholarly impact, and was best received by those whose scholarly output is not always captured by traditional metrics.

Practical implications

Scholars are equipped with novel methods for describing the value of their work and discovering a broader audience for their research. Future initiatives will target the needs identified through initial conversations around altmetrics.

Originality/value

Altmetrics workshops provide spaces to explore the potential for new tools that capture a range of previously unconsidered measures of impact, and to discuss the implications of those measures.

URL : http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/lib_staffpub/27/