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Do altmetrics capture societal engagement? A comparison between survey data and social media data

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Presentation at the ATL Conference held in Atlanta, Oct 11 2017.

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Do altmetrics capture societal engagement? A comparison between survey data and social media data

  1. 1. Do altmetrics capture societal engagement? A comparison between survey data and social media data
  2. 2. Do altmetrics capture societal engagement? A comparison between survey data and social media data N. Robinson-Garcia1, I. Ramos-Vielba2, R. Costas3 P. D’Este2 and I. Rafols2,3 1School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (United States) 2INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia (Spain) 3Centre for Studies of Science and Technology (CWTS), Leiden University, Leiden (The Netherlands)
  3. 3. Intro Broadening to other audiences beyond academia through social media • Scholars are increasingly using social media – Haustein et al., 2014 • Social media is a good venue for interacting and engaging with stakeholders – Grande et al., 2014 • Researchers have mixed feelings towards the benefits of social media – Jordan, 2014
  4. 4. Motivation What do we mean by altmetrics? Bibliometric approach Altmetric approach
  5. 5. Motivation What do we mean by altmetrics?
  6. 6. Motivation Social media as a proxy for societal impact • Social media as a potential channel to accelerate transition from sci literature to practice – Grande et al., 2014 • Altmetrics as informative tools with the potential to be used in research evaluation – Bornmann, 2014 • Altmetrics indicators signal a variety of phenomena, from scientific impact to popularity or buzz – Haustein et al., 2016 • Maybe talking about impact is too ambitious, but we might capture engagement – Robinson-Garcia et al., 2017
  7. 7. Ultimate goal Do altmetrics reflect offline societal engagement? Academics SMEs, Non-profits, Hospital, Gov. Agencies, Associations, Large firms SocietyAltmetrics
  8. 8. Main goal Do altmetrics reflect offline societal engagement? • Relation between type and variety of stakeholders and altmetric mentions • Differences by broad fields • Differences by type of altmetric source
  9. 9. Project Excellence and knowledge transfer • Survey aimed at understanding the interactions with non-academic stakeholders in knowledge transfer processes • Population: 57,406 researchers affiliated to public Spanish institutions with at least one publication in WoS during the 2012-14 period • Scholars were surveyed between June and July, 2016 • 21% response rate (11,992 respondents)
  10. 10. Material & methods Survey data • Variety and type of interacting stakeholders • Formal interactions with stakeholders (contracts, consultancy, training…) • Period asked: 2013-2015
  11. 11. Material & Methods Types of stakeholders Bussiness • SMEs • Large firms Public service related • Gov. agencies • Hospitals • International orgs. Non-profits • NGOs • Associations • Foundations
  12. 12. Material & Methods Altmetric data • Altmetric.com -> Main provider (Nature Springer Group)
  13. 13. Material & Methods Altmetric data • Altmetric.com -> Main provider (Nature Springer Group) The unbearable emptiness of tweeting – About journal articles
  14. 14. Material & Methods Altmetric data • Altmetric.com -> Main provider (Nature Springer Group) Chinese social media platform (dealing with Spanish output)
  15. 15. Material & Methods Altmetric data • Altmetric.com -> Main provider (Nature Springer Group) Blurred mixture of sources with unclear meaning
  16. 16. Material & Methods Altmetric data • Altmetric.com -> Main provider (Nature Springer Group)
  17. 17. Material & Methods Final dataset 10802 respondents 61056 pubs • 2013-2015 period • Articles and reviews only • Documents with DOI number only
  18. 18. Material & Methods Final dataset Fields # Researchers # Publications % pubs in Altmetric.com LIFE & HEALTH SCIENCES 3320 21951 51.9% SOCIAL SCI & HUMANITIES 1439 4119 40.6% STEM FIELDS 4791 30794 28.6% MULTIDISCIPLINARY 1252 4192 37.3% TOTAL 10802 61056 38.4%
  19. 19. Material & Methods % out of papers covered in Altmetric.com
  20. 20. Preliminary results
  21. 21. Preliminary results
  22. 22. Discussion and further steps Towards a nuanced framework of on/offline engagement • FB mentions cover the highest share of publications • Policy document mentions very rare (even in pub. service related) • FB and news show higher average # mentions by pub • News mentions seem to show a highly skewed distribution • We observe different patterns by altmetric source • Higher variety of stakeholders seems to show more FB mentions • No other relation found for the rest of metrics • No clear pattern by type of stakeholder
  23. 23. Discussion and further steps Towards a nuanced framework of on/offline engagement Do altmetrics capture social engagement? • Maybe, but not necessarily related to formal engagement • Other factors could be influencing • More fine-grained analysis • Selection of altmetric sources • Better defined disciplines • In-Depth multivariate analysis • Opens window to more mixed methods analyses
  24. 24. Discussion and further steps Towards a nuanced framework of on/offline engagement Descriptive results promising but insufficient: • Influence by academic rank? • Other altmetrics? • Which disciplines? • Types and frequency of interactions? • Relation between altmetrics and researchers’ attitudes towards social media? • Social media as mediator or facilitator of knowledge transfer?
  25. 25. Do altmetrics capture societal engagement? A comparison between survey data and social media data THANK YOU! @nrobinsongarcia, @ireneravi, @RodrigoCostas1, @PabloDEste and @IsmaelRafols

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