Altmetrics apples and oranges


Published on

I apply Ranganathan's 5 laws of library science to altmetrics, as part of a holistic research impact support service. I discuss what altmetrics are, what they measure, their uses throughout the research lifecycle, and where you can get them. I then apply Ranganathan's 4th law, saving the time of the user, to the harvesting of altmetrics by research information systems, embedding them at the point of need. The challenge of altmetrics is to change our concept of what an institutional repository is, from a simple container of research outputs to a smart system that harvests and catalogs a much broader range of output and impact data elements.

Published in: Education

Altmetrics apples and oranges

  1. 1. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Altmetrics, Apples and Oranges Academic Libraries in the Brave New World of Research Impact Western Australian Group of University Librarians (WAGUL) Research Day 22 July 2014
  2. 2. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Ranganathan’s 5 laws of library science 1. Books are for use. 2. Every reader his [or her] book. 3. Every book its reader. 4. Save the time of the reader. 5. The library is a growing organism.
  3. 3. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES 5 laws applied to research impact 1. Research is for impact. 2. All research impact its artefacts. 3. All research artefacts their impact. 4. Save the time of the researcher! 5. Research impact is a growing organism.
  4. 4. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Problems with traditional impact metrics •Citation databases favour STEM fields of research •H-index favours senior researchers in STEM fields •JIF is not a surrogate measure of author or article impact •Traditional metrics measure only scholarly impact •Scholarly citations can take a long time to accumulate •Scholarly citations do necessarily indicate positive impact
  5. 5. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES What are altmetrics? Altmetrics (alternative metrics) measure online social engagement with digital research outputs. Image:
  6. 6. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES What do altmetrics measure? Research outputs: •Scholarly articles •Conference papers •Books and book chapters •Cases and clinical trials •Videos and presentations •Programming code •Figures and datasets •Blogs and web pages •Media coverage •Grants and patents Social impact: •Scholarly citations •Views and downloads •Tweets, shares and posts •Comments and ratings •Library holdings •Favourites & bookmarks •Readers and followers •Clicks and comments •Blog and forum counts •Likes, reviews and +1s
  7. 7. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES What are the advantages of altmetrics? •Monitor social engagement with digital research outputs •Competitive advantage for grant and promotion applications •Provide evidence of social impact for performance reviews •Provide evaluation data for reviewing social media strategy •Provide evidence of public impact for open access artefacts •Complement other impact data and add to impact narrative •Open source data that is harvestable by third-party systems
  9. 9. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Where do you get altmetrics?
  10. 10. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES History of library systems
  11. 11. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Research information system Image:
  12. 12. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Issues with “closed” information systems •Information silos and predetermined outputs and impact •Inflexibility of harvesting and feed options •Limited interfacing options with competing systems •Lack of metadata and relationship control •Potential conflict of interest with institutional priorities •Risk of adversely influencing researcher behaviour
  13. 13. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Symplectic Elements (research info system)
  14. 14. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Altmetrics and academic libraries •Raising awareness and providing training and support •Facilitating access & defining metadata and relationships •Working with stakeholders to determine roles & workflows •We can collaborate with & influence altmetrics developers
  17. 17. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Apply same principles as library system design Source:
  18. 18. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES 5 laws applied to altmetrics 1. Digital research with impact has altmetrics. 2. All altmetrics their research outputs. 3. All research outputs their altmetrics. 4. Altmetrics save the time of the researcher! 5. Altmetrics is a growing organism. For example: NISO Alternative Metrics (Altmetrics) Project
  19. 19. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES 5 laws and challenge of altmetrics 5 Laws of Altmetrics: 1.Digital research  altmetrics 2.Altmetrics  research outputs 3.Research outputs  altmetrics 4.Altmetrics save  researcher 5.Altmetrics is  organism Challenge to Academic Libraries: 1.Collect altmetrics  2.Add altmetrics to outputs  3.Add consistent metadata  4.Item, author, group reports  5.Change concept of repository Research Elements
  20. 20. DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES Thank You! Pat Loria, Manager Information Services Charles Sturt University Library Email: Twitter: @pat_loria