Grand challenges in altmetrics: heterogeneity, data quality and dependencies

Author : Stefanie Haustein

As uptake among researchers is constantly increasing, social media are finding their way into scholarly communication and, under the umbrella term altmetrics, were introduced to research evaluation.

Fueled by technological possibilities and an increasing demand to demonstrate impact beyond the scientific community, altmetrics received great attention as potential democratizers of the scientific reward system and indicators of societal impact. This paper focuses on current challenges of altmetrics.

Heterogeneity, data quality and particular dependencies are identified as the three major issues and discussed in detail with a particular emphasis on past developments in bibliometrics.

The heterogeneity of altmetrics mirrors the diversity of the types of underlying acts, most of which take place on social media platforms. This heterogeneity has made it difficult to establish a common definition or conceptual framework.

Data quality issues become apparent in the lack of accuracy, consistency and replicability of various altmetrics, which is largely affected by the dynamic nature of social media events.

It is further highlighted that altmetrics are shaped by technical possibilities and depend particularly on the availability of APIs and DOIs, are strongly dependent on data providers and aggregators, and potentially influenced by technical affordances of underlying platforms.


Altmetrics and Grey Literature: Perspectives and Challenges

Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Hélène Prost

Traditional metrics largely overlook grey literature. The new altmetrics introduced in 2010 as  » new, online scholarly tools (that allow) to make new filters  » (Altmetrics Manifesto), can include all kinds of scholarly output which makes them interesting for grey literature.

The topic of our paper is the connection between altmetrics and grey literature. Do altmetrics offer new opportunities for the development and impact of grey literature?

In particular, the paper explores how altmetrics could add value to grey literature, in particular how reference managers, repositories, academic search engines and social networks can produce altmetrics of dissertations, reports, conference papers etc.

We explore, too, how new altmetric tools incorporate grey literature as source for impact assessment, and if they do. The discussion analyses the potential but also the limits of the actual application of altmetrics to grey literatures and highlights the importance of unique identifiers, above all the DOI.

For the moment, grey literature missed the opportunity to get on board of the new movement.

However, getting grey literature into the heart of the coming mainstream adoption of altmetrics is not only essential for the future of grey literature in open science but also for academic and institutional control of research output and societal impact.This can be a special mission for academic librarians.


Altmetrics: The Emerging Alternative Metrics for Web Research Analysis

Authors : Ashok Kumar, J Shivarama, Mallikarjun Angadi, Puttaraj A Choukimath

The use of web 2.0 is becoming the essential part of present day life. People are spending time for many purposes and academic activities among these uses of web 2.0 social media services by users are prominent for searching, sharing, discussing, and messaging of scholarly content.

The wider use of social media has given birth to various buzz words and ‘altmetrics’ is one of them. In simple words, altmetrics provides online measurement of scholars or scholarly content derived from the web 2.0 social media platforms.

Altmetrics is diversified in nature and categorised in five categories i.e. (i) recommended (ii) cited (iii) saved (iv) discussed and (v) viewed. Altmetrics are becoming widely used by publishers (for showcasing research impact of authors over readers), librarians and repository managers (for adding value to their libraries and institutional repositories) and by the researchers (for complementing reading by instantly visualising papers online attention).


Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) of “Nature” Journal

Author : Chintha Nagabhushanam

The main aim of scientific research is to systematically generate valid data which is measurable, reproducible, and testable, contributing to the existing knowledge about the subject.

This paper explains the Altmetrics of Nature Journal that is a summation of the impact of all articles in a journal based on citations. Article-level metrics measured the impact of individual articles, including usage (e.g., pageviews, downloads), citations, and social metrics like Twitter, Facebook and blogs, of non-duplicate online mentions.

Paper discuss article-level metrics from web site and analyses the data accordingly.

URL : Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) of “Nature” Journal

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Revisiting an open access monograph experiment: measuring citations and tweets 5 years later

Author : Ronald Snijder

An experiment run in 2009 could not assess whether making monographs available in open access enhanced scholarly impact. This paper revisits the experiment, drawing on additional citation data and tweets. It attempts to answer the following research question: does open access have a positive influence on the number of citations and tweets a monograph receives, taking into account the influence of scholarly field and language?

The correlation between monograph citations and tweets is also investigated. The number of citations and tweets measured in 2014 reveal a slight open access advantage, but the influence of language or subject should also be taken into account. However, Twitter usage and citation behaviour hardly overlap.

URL : Revisiting an open access monograph experiment

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To what extent does the Leiden Manifesto also apply to altmetrics? A discussion of the manifesto against the background of research into altmetrics

Authors : Lutz Bornmann, Robin Haunschild


Hicks, Wouters, Waltman, de Rijcke, and Rafols (2015) have formulated the so-called Leiden manifesto, in which they have assembled the ten principles for a meaningful evaluation of research on the basis of bibliometric data.


In this work the attempt is made to indicate the relevance of the Leiden manifesto for altmetrics.


As shown by the discussion of the ten principles against the background of the knowledge about and the research into altmetrics, the principles also have a great importance for altmetrics and should be taken into account in their application.


Altmetrics is already frequently used in the area of research evaluation. Thus, it is important that the user of altmetrics data knows the relevance of the Leiden manifesto also in this area.



Tracking the Digital Footprints to Scholarly Articles from Social Media

Authors : Xianwen Wang, Zhichao Fang, Xinhui Guo

Scholarly articles are discussed and shared on social media, which generates altmetrics. On the opposite side, what is the impact of social media on the dissemination of scholarly articles and how to measure it? What are the visiting patterns?

Investigating these issues, the purpose of this study is to seek a solution to fill the research gap, specifically, to explore the dynamic visiting patterns directed by social media, and examine the effects of social buzz on the article visits.

Using the unique real referral data of 110 scholarly articles, which are daily updated in a 90-day period, this paper proposes a novel method to make analysis. We find that visits from social media are fast to accumulate but decay rapidly.

Twitter and Facebook are the two most important social referrals that directing people to scholarly articles, the two are about the same and account for over 95% of the total social referral directed visits.

There is synchronism between tweets and tweets resulted visits. Social media and open access are playing important roles in disseminating scholarly articles and promoting public understanding science, which are confirmed quantitatively for the first time with real data in this study.