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Tweet Your Pubs: How Altmetrics are Changing the Way We Measure Research Impact


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Presentation given to the Northern Alberta Health Libraries Association (NAHLA) Trends Mini Conference in Edmonton at the University of Alberta on May 2, 2014

Published in: Social Media, Business, Technology
  • Thanks for the feedback! It was a challenge to distinguish all of the altmetric products. I hope I represented Impactstory accurately, but I didn't discuss Plum X (Plum Analytics) and will have to request access to test it out too. The notes for this presentation include a transcript with more details about Impactstory. For anyone interested, it is worth downloading the PowerPoint to get all the details.
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  • I somehow forgot in my point about gathering impacts. They're awesome, too.
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  • Robin, this is awesome! I especially liked how your points about finding correlations between metrics wasn't too focused on altmetrics' corr. with citations.

    One thing to note, perhaps for future versions of this talk, is that what sets Impactstory and Plum X apart from the other altmetrics providers is that we sum up impact, gathering info from the heaps of different metrics sources like Github, Mendeley, etc.

    Again, great slide deck!
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Tweet Your Pubs: How Altmetrics are Changing the Way We Measure Research Impact

  1. 1. Robin Featherstone, MLIS Research Librarian, Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta @rmfeatherstone Tweet your pubs: How altmetrics are changing the way we measure research impact @arche4evidence Spring 2014
  2. 2. Conflict of interest disclosure • I have had free access to the Explorer since September 2013
  3. 3. Image by Nik Papageorgiou:
  4. 4. Altmetrics… […] capture ways in which articles are disseminated throughout the expanding scholarly ecosystem, and reach beyond the scope of traditional trackers and filters. […] measure research impact by including references outside of traditional scholarly publishing. 3. Public Library of Science (PLOS). Altmetrics. [29 April 2014]. Available from 4. Baynes G. Scientometrics, bibliometrics, altmetrics: Some introductory advice for the lost and bemused. Insights. 2012;25(3):311-5. doi: 10.1629/2048-7754.25.3.311.
  5. 5. Altmetric tools measure • Tweets • Blog mentions • Facebook posts • Presentations • News articles • Shared citations (e.g., Mendeley, CiteULike) • Data uploads • Etc.
  6. 6. What’s your impact1? 1. Emerald Group Publishing. Impact of Research [11 April 2014]. Available from:
  7. 7. Agenda • Researcher & article case studies • Altmetric products • Measurable mentions & unique IDs • Gaming the system • Altmetric research • Altmetrics for biomedical and health sciences • Future directions
  8. 8. Researcher case study – Heather Piwowar • h-index: 8 – 23 articles cited 258 times
  9. 9. Researcher Case Study – Heather Piwowar • Slideshare followers: 85 • ImpactStory research products: 117 • Figshare views: 1384 • GitHub contributions: 1410 • Google Scholar h-index: 13 (51 publications cited 678 times) • ResearchGate score: 14.33 • Research Gate Impact Points: 50.29
  10. 10. Article Case Study – Marshall 2013 • Web of Science times cited: 1 • Google Scholar times cited: 21 • Scopus times cited: 6
  11. 11. Article Case Study – Marshall 2013 • Altmetric score: 76
  12. 12. Altmetrics Players
  13. 13. Measurable Mentions A. Great article in Oncology by Kotsori! B. Great article in Oncology by @akotsori - C. Great article in @oncologyjournal by @akotsori #breastcancer -
  14. 14. What is gaming? • Alice has a new paper out. She asks those grad students of hers who blog to write about it. • Alice has a new paper out. She believes that it contains important information for diabetes patients and so signs up to a ’100 retweets for $$$’ service. 5. Case examples from: Adie, E. Gaming Altmetrics. [29 April 2014]. Available from
  15. 15. Auto-spamming
  16. 16. Spectrum of social media self- promotion 6. Adie, E. Gaming Altmetrics. [29 April 2014]. Available from
  17. 17. Altmetrics research • PLOS Altmetrics Collection: • Many studies compared altmetrics with citation counts and Impact Factors • Positive but weak correlations found
  18. 18. Altmetrics in the health sciences • ‘Biomedical and health sciences’ showed highest share of publications with scores7 • Increasing numbers of PubMed citations were being tweeted8 2010 2.4% 2011 10.9% 2012 20.4% 7. Costas R, Zahedi Z, Wouters P. Do altmetrics correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective. arXiv preprint arXiv:14014321. 2014. 8. Haustein S, Peters I, Sugimoto CR, Thelwall M, Larivière V. Tweeting biomedicine: An analysis of tweets and citations in the biomedical literature. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 2013.
  19. 19. Social Media and health • Used for: – Health promotion9, 10 – Education11 – Communication and knowledge sharing12 9. Williams G, Hamm MP, Shulhan J, Vandermeer B, Hartling L. Social media interventions for diet and exercise behaviours: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2014;4(2). doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003926. 10. Hamm MP, Chisholm A, Shulhan J, Milne A, Scott SD, Given LM, et al. Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review. BMJ Open. 2013;3(5). doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002819. 11. Hamm MP, Klassen TP, Scott SD, Moher D, Hartling L. Education in Health Research Methodology: Use of a Wiki for Knowledge Translation. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(5):e64922. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064922. 12. Hamm MP, Chisholm A, Shulhan J, Milne A, Scott SD, Klassen TP, et al. Social media use by health care professionals and trainees: a scoping review. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 2013;88(9):1376-83. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829eb91c.
  20. 20. Rank Score Article Title Year Journal 1 1350 Early Television Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems in Children 2004 Pediatrics 2 558 Do Television and Electronic Games Predict Children’s Psychosocial Adjustment? Longitudinal Research Using the UK Millennium Cohort Study 2013 Archives of Disease in Childhood 3 521 Microbial Contamination of Human Milk Purchased via the Internet 2013 Pediatrics 4 457 Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial 2014 Pediatrics 5 383 Gun Violence Trends in Movies 2013 Pediatrics Using rankings – Pediatric Journals
  21. 21. Using rankings - ARCHE publications Rank Score Article Title Journal Notes 1 152 How confidence intervals become confusion intervals BMC Medical Research Methodology One of the highest ever scores in this journal (ranked #1 of 364) – article was mentioned by 219 tweeters 2 148 Lifestyle Interventions for Patients With and at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta- analysis Annals of Internal Medicine Among the highest ever scored in this journal (ranked #37 of 2470) – article was mentioned by 128 tweeters 3 122 Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review BMJ Open Among the highest ever scored in this journal (ranked #22 of 1501) – article was mentioned by 150 tweeters
  22. 22. Future Directions – Publisher-driven altmetrics
  23. 23. Future Directions – Product development • Increase transparency of self-promotion activites • Implement anti-spamming/anti-gaming software solutions
  24. 24. Future Directions – Standards development
  25. 25. Future Directions – Research • Is there a correlation between altmetrics rankings and… – full-text downloads? – qualitative measures of interest? – …
  26. 26. Future Directions - Assessment • Will be used by: – funding agencies – research centres – libraries – Knowledge Translation (KT) researchers
  27. 27. Future Directions
  28. 28. The Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Robin Featherstone, MLIS @rmfeatherstone Slides available: