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Citation theories
and their application to altmetrics
Rodrigo Costas
Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS-Leide...
Types of altmetrics
• Research impact on (mostly) social media
• Heterogeneity
• Reference management: reader counts
• Rec...
Altmetrics in the light of citation theory
• Normative theory (Kaplan, 1965; Merton, 1973)
‘Ethos of science’ (Merton, 197...
Altmetrics in the light of citation theory
• Normative theory (Kaplan, 1965; Merton, 1973)
‘Ethos of science’ (Merton, 197...
Normative theory
• F1000
– Faculty members are “world's leading scientists”
– Reviewers “must sign a statement to indicate...
Normative theory
• Blogs
– similar to citations
– “The post author should have read and understood the
entire work cited [...
Social constructivist theory
• Twitter
– Matthew effect (internally):
reinforced by Twitter affordances
extremely skewed d...
Social constructivist theory
• Mendeley
– Matthew effect: popularity of high-impact journals
– Anonymous nature of saving ...
Concept symbols
• Blogs
– Authors associated cited documents with concept
• Twitter, F1000, Mendeley
– Concepts condensed ...
Conclusions
• Normative approach
• High applicability for F1000
• Moderate for Mendeley
• Low applicability for Twitter or...
Conclusions and outlook
• Research evaluation
• Higher applicability for Mendeley and F1000
• No applicability for Twitter...
Questions?
11
http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.05701
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Rodrigo Costas & Stefanie Haustein: Citation theories and their application to altmetrics

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Presentation at #2AMconf
Rodrigo Costas, (CWTS-Leiden University, the Netherlands) & Stefanie Haustein (Université de Montréal, Canada)

Related paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.05701

Published in: Science
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Rodrigo Costas & Stefanie Haustein: Citation theories and their application to altmetrics

  1. 1. Citation theories and their application to altmetrics Rodrigo Costas Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS-Leiden University), the Netherlands Stefanie Haustein Université de Montréal, Canada @RodrigoCostas1 @stefhaustein
  2. 2. Types of altmetrics • Research impact on (mostly) social media • Heterogeneity • Reference management: reader counts • Recommending: recommendations • Blogging: blog mentions • Microblogging: microposts • others Need to differentiate!  Lack of meaning and theoretical foundations 1
  3. 3. Altmetrics in the light of citation theory • Normative theory (Kaplan, 1965; Merton, 1973) ‘Ethos of science’ (Merton, 1973) • Communism • Universalism • Social constructivist theory Deviation from normative behavior • Persuasion • Matthew effect • Concept symbols (Small, 1978) symbolic act: association of document with concept 2 • Disinterestedness • Organized skepticism • Perfunctory citations • Negative citations, etc.
  4. 4. Altmetrics in the light of citation theory • Normative theory (Kaplan, 1965; Merton, 1973) ‘Ethos of science’ (Merton, 1973) • Communism • Universalism • Social constructivist theory Deviation from normative behavior • Persuasion • Matthew effect • Concept symbols (Small, 1978) symbolic act: association of document with concept 3 • Disinterestedness • Organized skepticism • Perfunctory citations • Negative citations, etc. How do these theories apply to altmetrics? • Saved in Mendeley • Mentioned in a tweet • Reviewed on F1000 • Cited in a blog post
  5. 5. Normative theory • F1000 – Faculty members are “world's leading scientists” – Reviewers “must sign a statement to indicate that the article has been selected […] entirely on its scientific merit and […] not been influenced” • Mendeley – Pre-citation context – Anonymous nature of saving process – Not all papers are read 4
  6. 6. Normative theory • Blogs – similar to citations – “The post author should have read and understood the entire work cited [and] report accurately and thoughtfully on the research.” (ResearchBlogging) – open uncontrolled nature of blogs • Twitter – brevity – humor and entertainment aspect – diffusion channel – diverse user groups and user motivations 5
  7. 7. Social constructivist theory • Twitter – Matthew effect (internally): reinforced by Twitter affordances extremely skewed distributions – Matthew effect (externally): popularity of high-impact journals • Blogs – Persuasion: driving force in blogging – Matthew effect: focus on high-impact journals 6
  8. 8. Social constructivist theory • Mendeley – Matthew effect: popularity of high-impact journals – Anonymous nature of saving to Mendeley • F1000 – Matthew effect (externally): focus on high-impact journals – Subjectivity of reviewers – Recommendations are linked to reviewers 7
  9. 9. Concept symbols • Blogs – Authors associated cited documents with concept • Twitter, F1000, Mendeley – Concepts condensed in tags #altmetrics
  10. 10. Conclusions • Normative approach • High applicability for F1000 • Moderate for Mendeley • Low applicability for Twitter or blogs • Social constructivist approach • High applicability for Twitter and blogs • Moderate for F1000 • Concept symbols • High applicability for Twitter, F1000, Mendeley and blogs  Theory highlights heterogeneity of acts 9
  11. 11. Conclusions and outlook • Research evaluation • Higher applicability for Mendeley and F1000 • No applicability for Twitter • Content analysis and mapping • High applicability for F1000, Mendeley, Twitter and blogs but as exploration and description of ‘perception of science’  Theoretical discussions help to: • uncover acts behind metrics • interprete meaning of metrics  Need for other theories and frameworks 10
  12. 12. Questions? 11 http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.05701

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