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).


A Platform for Closing the Open Data Feedback Loop Based on Web2.0 Functionality


“One essential characteristic of open data ecosystems is their development through feedback loops, discussions and dynamic data suppliers – user interactions. These user-centric features communicate the users’ needs to the open data community, as well to the public sector organizations responsible for data publication. Addressing these needs by the corresponding public sector organizations, or even by utilising the power of the community as ENGAGE supports, can significantly promote and accelerate innovation. However, such elements appear barely to be part of existing open data practices in the public sector. A survey we conducted has shown that professional open data users find the feedback and discussion on open data infrastructures from their users to their providers as highly useful and important, but they state that they do not know at least one open data infrastructure that provides various types of discussion, and feedback mechanisms.

In this paper we describe and discuss an open data platform, which contributes to filling this gap and also present a usage scenario of it, explaining the sequence of using its functionality. The discussed open data infrastructure combines functionalities that aim to close the feedback loop and to return information to public authorities that can be useful for better government data opening and publication, as well as establishing communication channels between all stakeholders. This may effectively lead to the stimulation and facilitation of value generation from open data, as such functionality positions the user at the centre of the open data publication process.”

URL : A Platform for Closing the Open Data Feedback Loop Based on Web2.0 Functionality

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Transformation of Science Communication in the Age of Social Media

The aim of the present article is to discuss several consequences of the Open Science from a perspective of science communication and philosophy of communication. Apart from the purely communicative and philosophical issues, the paper deals with the questions that concern the science populariza- tion process through social media (especially Twitter and blogs).

The article consists of three sections: the first one suggests a definition of science communication and social media, the second examines the transformation of science in the Age of the Internet and considers the influence of social media on science communication, the third and final one presents some case studies and philosophical observations.

The most important conclusion to be reached here is that the social media have changed science and science communication. Twitter and blogs as novelty tools of science communication can be useful and meaningful for both science and society. Furthermore, social media can be used to facilitate broader involvement of citizens in the discussion about science.


Scholarship 2.0: Analyzing scholars’ use of Web 2.0 tools in research and teaching activity

Over the past 15 years the Web has transformed the ways in which we search for information and use it. In more recent years, we have seen the emergence of a new array of innovative tools that collectively go under the name of ‘Web 2.0’, in which the information user is also increasingly an information producer (i.e., prosumer), by sharing or creating content.

The success of Web 2.0 tools for personal use is only partially replicated in the professional sphere and, particularly, in the academic environment in relation with research and teaching.

To date, very few studies have explored the level of adoption of Web 2.0 among academic researchers in their research and teaching activity. It is not known in what way how and how much Web 2.0 is currently used within research communities, and we are not aware of the drivers and the drawbacks of the use of Web 2.0 tools in academia, where the majority of people is focused either on research or on teaching activities.

To analyse these issues, i.e. the combined adoption of Web 2.0 tools in teaching and research, the authors carried out a survey among teaching and researching staff of the University of Breda in The Netherlands. This country was chosen mainly because it is on the cutting edge as far as innovation is concerned. An important driver in choosing the Breda University’s academic community was the fact that one of the two authors of this survey works as senior researcher at this university.

The purpose of our survey was to explore the level of adoption of Web 2.0 tools among the academic communities. We were interested in investigating how they were using these tools in the creation of scientific knowledge both in their research and teaching activity. We were also interested in analysing differences in the level of adoption of Web 2.0 tools with regard to researchers’ position, age, gender, and research field.

Finally, in our study we explored the issue of peer reviewing in the Web 2.0 setting. In particular, we investigated whether social peer review is regarded by researchers as a viable alternative to the current closed peer review system (single-blind or double blind).

We approached about 60 staff members, but only 12 faculty members completed the survey fully. This means that our results can only be regarded as exploratory, but we still believe that they represent a complementary perspective with respect to previous studies.”


The web as exception: the rise of new media publishing cultures

This dissertation offers a history of web exceptionalism – or the notion that the web is a source of radical change and that it is inherently different from its ‘mass’ and ‘mainstream’ media predecessors – as well as its role in various innovations in web publishing. Web exceptionalism combines a discourse of the displacement of older media with the articulation of specific media practices, technologies and forms as “web-native,” i.e. as somehow reflective of the web’s essence or nature. Its expressions range from early visions of the web as a virtual space and ideal public sphere to the concept of Web 2.0 and recent discussion of social media as a new form of decentralized, citizen-powered journalism.

Here, I examine manifestations of such ideas in new media publishing cultures in the 1990s and early 2000s, arguing that while these narratives of exceptionalism portray the web’s development in terms of rupture, or sudden break from the past, they paradoxically shape web culture as a site and source of historical continuity. The aim of this study is not to debunk claims of the web’s exceptional nature. Rather, it is concerned with how a closer investigation of web exceptionalism, focused on the conditions of its emergence, serves to reveal the various historical and cultural legacies that shape the web and our perceptions of it.

In the first part of the dissertation, I explore the roots of web exceptionalism by returning to the influential conceptualization of the web as cyberspace in the early 1990s. In its most utopian configurations, the-web-as-cyberspace would be a space of ‘pure information’ that would free its users from physical, social, cultural and economic constraints on identity, community and enterprise. As much as cyberspace symbolized a radically different future, however, the concept was also the site of a remarkable connection between cybercultural utopianism and cybernetics, or the science of communication and control, which developed in military-related research during the 1940s and 1950s.

One of the key ideas that emerged from cybernetics – that social and cultural phenomena are essentially formalizable (and thus computable) systems of information and feedback – is extended in the basic assumption underlying cybercultural utopianism, that the world might be made anew within the electronic frontier of cyberspace. This underlying assumption may also be seen to resonate with more recent articulations of the web as an exceptional medium: despite the disappearance of a utopian notion of cyberspace, similar computational metaphor is found in concepts such as the social graph, which carries the promise of a universal mapping of social relations.
In addition to the concept of cyberspace, cybercultural utopianism may be typified by its primary mode of delivery, the cool tech-culture magazines such as Mondo 2000 and Wired that entered mainstream culture in the early 1990s. As I argue in a case study of Mondo 2000, the magazine’s mix of irony, rebellious attitude and unconventional production practices was closely aligned with its depictions of the cybercultural future, which oscillated between enthusiastic and negative visions of the potential for empowerment and authentic experience through new media. Mondo’s ambivalent “cool” not only represented a particular new media publishing form, but was in part produced by the rupture-talk at the center of Mondo 2000’s identity. Like the computational metaphor, I argue, Mondo’s new media cool may be seen to resonate with later manifestations of web exceptionalism, where a similar ambivalence about the effects of new media endures.

The second part of the dissertation comprises three case studies of web exceptionalism, each of which emphasizes the interplay between rupture-talk and the establishment of novel media practices, technologies and forms. The first concerns the promise of a “new publishing paradigm” at HotWired, the web-only publication launched by the creators of Wired magazine in 1994. At HotWired, questions of site design and editorial practice were addressed in terms of the web’s promise and what the new medium required. Embedded in these ideas about the web’s exceptional status and the resulting practices, however, were a series of cultural influences – from the New Journalism of the 1970s to the Bay Area rave scene of the 1990s – that tied HotWired’s production to past media practice.

The second case revisits what appeared to be the arrival of a new age of “open news,” a narrative of exceptionalism spurred by the rapid rise to prominence of the tech-news website and forum Slashdot in 1998. With its reader-submitted stories and intricate commenting infrastructure, Slashdot seemed to embody principles of open-source software production, where engineering work is delegated to a dispersed, self-organized group of volunteers. In this new context, ‘openness’ meant spreading the work of news production and distribution among diverse participants and providing an alternative to the closed process of decision-making by traditional gatekeepers. A closer look at the emergence of Slashdot’s unique technological infrastructure, however, suggests a different lineage involving the early online culture of Bulletin Board Systems. And rather than a critical intervention in news production, the site’s history sooner resonates with accounts of the introduction of information technology in the workplace, as its central thread is the automation and increased visibility of production tasks. The third case study deals with the emergence of blogging as a popular web publishing format in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Taking as a starting point the influential definition of blogging as “web-native,” I show how blogging was defined by early practitioners as both a solution to perceived problems in mainstream media and an extension of some of its worst excesses. Most of all, I argue, the articulation of blogging as “web-native” was aligned with what I call blogging’s logic of exposure, extending conventional publishing values and practices related to publicity into a novel web cultural form.

Overall, the case studies demonstrate how significant innovations in web publishing were simultaneously a product of narratives of the web as an exceptional medium as well as a range of cultural influences. In doing so, they support the dissertation’s central claim, that rupture-talk paradoxically shapes web-native culture as a site and source of historical continuity.”


Research Blogging: Indexing and Registering the Change in Science 2.0

Increasing public interest in science information in a digital and 2.0 science era promotes a dramatically, rapid and deep change in science itself. The emergence and expansion of new technologies and internet-based tools is leading to new means to improve scientific methodology and communication, assessment, promotion and certification. It allows methods of acquisition, manipulation and storage, generating vast quantities of data that can further facilitate the research process.

It also improves access to scientific results through information sharing and discussion. Content previously restricted only to specialists is now available to a wider audience. This context requires new management systems to make scientific knowledge more accessible and useable, including new measures to evaluate the reach of scientific information. The new science and research quality measures are strongly related to the new online technologies and services based in social media. Tools such as blogs, social bookmarks and online reference managers, Twitter and others offer alternative, transparent and more comprehensive information about the active interest, usage and reach of scientific publications.

Another of these new filters is the Research Blogging platform, which was created in 2007 and now has over 1,230 active blogs, with over 26,960 entries posted about peer-reviewed research on subjects ranging from Anthropology to Zoology. This study takes a closer look at RB, in order to get insights into its contribution to the rapidly changing landscape of scientific communication.


Mobilizing Curriculum Studies in a Virtual World Open…


Mobilizing Curriculum Studies in a (Virtual) World: Open Access, Edupunks, and the Public Good :

“Despite societal imperatives for equity—whether espoused by nation states or transnational agencies like UNESCO—current models of higher education are unequivocally failing to provide universal access. This paper seeks to explore the (cyber)spaces (un)occupied by higher education, specifically in the area of curriculum studies, arguing that the World Wide Web can be used to effect the democratization of education. Further, it argues for the benefits of Open Access research by means of a small-scale empirical study, the results of which indicate that making research openly accessible does not diminish the impact of research, but rather may actually increase it.”