Introduction to Altmetrics for Medical and Special Librarians


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Altmetrics (or alternative citation metrics) provide new ways to track scholarly influence across a wide range of media and platforms. This presentation covers altmetric fundamentals, tips on connecting your users with altmetrics, and an overview of newly published research. Presented as part of the NN/LM MAR Boost Box Series;

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  • Develop, manage, and promote science and technology collections in alignment with the evolving research, teaching, and learning needs of Syracuse University. Maintain awareness of professional developments, issues, and practices in collection development, research, and scholarly communication.
  • The NSF, in an effort to broaden what is of value from scientific research, now asks for PI’s to list their research products instead of publications. Altmetrics may be way to quantify ‘Broader impacts’ of research
  • Don’t see much evidence that faculty know how to use JCR. JCR is subscription, and only journals included are those indexed by WoS. EXCLUDES book chapters & conf. proceedingsSCImago has been created by a Spanish research group.
  • SCImago is an 'open access' web evaluation environment to analyze multidimensional performance of Journals and Nations. The SJR evaluation environment includes a wealth of metrics to analyze the full range of scientific domains.SJR has been developed from the information contained in Elsevier's Scopus database.Freely available, easy to use. Not as well recognized as Journal Citation Reports.
  • Real-time interactions
  • What can Altmetrics measure?“Evidence of Use” – Rapidly gauge use and influence of an article – for example# of Tweets (has been found to predict citation rates)# of saves in online reference manager (Mendeley, Zotero) librariesScholarly blog interest and activity
  • F1000:Personalized recommendations of the best biomedical research articles from our faculty. Open access journal and open access poster respository
  • Altmetric tracks what people are saying about papers online on behalf of publishers, authors, libraries and institutions.Plum Analytics: Whether you are performing, supporting, or funding research, get an edge as the research environment becomes more and more competitive.
  • Mendeley shows you how many readers and downloads your publications get over time..
  • Impactstory is an open-source, web-based tool that helps researchers explore and share the diverse impacts of all their research products—from traditional ones like journal articles, to emerging products like blog posts, datasets, and software. By helping researchers tell data-driven stories about their impacts, we're helping to build a new scholarly reward system that values and encourages web-native scholarship. We’re funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and incorporated as a nonprofit corporation.
  • Plum Analytics – institutional solution:We work within an institution’s processes that are already in place for tracking research to make it easier to understand impact—no one wants to start (again) from scratch!PlumXTM is an impact dashboard that provides evidence of how research output in all its forms is being utilized, interacted with, and talked about around the world. PlumX can also feed metrics back into repositories, providing valuable benefits to authors, potential contributors, and users alike. This is an easy and affordable way to start working with alternative metrics. This includes the metrics beyond the IR “version” of an artifact, providing a greater glimpse into the overall interaction with the research output, as well as giving your authors another good reason to deposit their articles in the repository. 
  • NewTime frame – some new tools cannot search old mentions, tweets, etc.Rely on user generated metadataShould social media mentions be given the same weight as scholarly article citations?Can these tools be easily manipulated to raise significance of an article?
  • First point – accurate attribution
  • Joan- civil engineeringJohn – aerospaceJoanne - biology
  • Science data mgmt librarian @ Indiana University-Bloomington
  • School of Technology, University of Wolverhampton, UKStatistical methods:Correlations & sign testsContent analysis of sources of altmetric dataCreator motivation interviewsPragmatic evaluations – infor seeking tasks
  • A bibliometrician is a researcher or a specialist in bibliometrics. It is near-synonymous with an informetrican (who studies informetrics), a scientometrican (who study scientometrics) and a webometrician, who study webometrics.
  • Introduction to Altmetrics for Medical and Special Librarians

    1. 1. Introduction to Altmetrics for Medical and Special Librarians Linda M. Galloway, MLIS Librarian for Biology, Chemistry and Forensics Bibliographer for the Sciences & Technology Syracuse University Library, Syracuse, NY NN/LM MAR Boost Box Series March 2014
    2. 2. About Me… • Librarian/subject specialist for Biology, Chemistry & Forensic Science • Evaluate and select content , help people access the content they need, teach, create web content, various librarian duties • B.S. Chemistry, MSLIS from Syracuse University • Bibliographer for Sciences & Technology • Email:
    3. 3. What are Altmetrics?? “the study of scholarly impact measures based on activity in online tools and environments” (Priem, Groth, and Taraborelli 2012 citable and accessible products not limited to publications, data sets, software, patents, and copyrights (“Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II” 2013)
    4. 4. Traditional Scholarly Metrics
    5. 5. Quantifying Scholarly Output via Citation Metrics Number of Publications Citations to Publications Relative influence of Publications
    6. 6. Traditional Tools Article Level Metrics • Citations to an individual article – Web of Science – Scopus – Google Scholar • h-index – measures both the productivity and impact of the published work – Number of an author’s papers that have been cited at least h times by other publications
    7. 7. Traditional Tools Journal Level Metrics • Impact Factor – Journal Citation Reports – Avg. time articles from a journal (past 2 yrs.) are cited in past year. – Web of Science indexed journals & data • SCImago Journal & Country Rank – Based on Scopus Data, 1996- – Uses GooglePage Rank algorithim – Citable increments include past 3 years – Open Access Note: there are other indices and measures available within these resources.
    8. 8. What data does a typical researcher/faculty member need? # Citable products # Citations to those products h-Index Other measures of success and influence
    9. 9. Documents: 30 Citations: 253 H-index: 9 2009-2014, 3/5/2014 Scholarly Metrics as a proxy for Scholarly Influence…
    10. 10. Documents: 72 Citations: 445 H-index: 11 Since 2009, 3/5/2014 Scholarly Metrics as a proxy for Scholarly Influence…
    11. 11. Limitations to Traditional Metrics • Take a long time to accumulate • Often behind pay walls • Measure influence narrowly • Don’t capture a publication’s impact or influence in emerging forms of scholarly communication • Variability depending on database used to calculate metrics
    12. 12. Altmetrics Measure diverse impacts from articles, datasets, blog posts, slide shows, etc. Beyond citation counts! Readership Views Saves Downloads Scholarly (or popular) Buzz
    13. 13. What can be measured? “Evidence of Use” – • # of Tweets • # of “Saves” in online reference managers • Scholarly (and popular) blog interest and activity • Activity in social networking platforms, tools • And…
    14. 14. Meaningful Interactions CiteULike Delicious F1000 GitHub Mendeley SlideShare Twitter Zotero What is tracked?? Discussions Saves Citations Recommendations Downloads Copies Altmetrics measures diverse impacts from articles, datasets, blog posts, slide shows, etc.
    15. 15. Altmetric Tools track readership & influence is a platform for academics to share research papers and interests. CiteULike permits users to store, organize and share scholarly papers F1000 is a subscription-based recommendation service for curated articles in biology and medicine.
    16. 16. Social networking tools
    17. 17. Altmetric Tools track readership & influence Google Scholar Citations is a service that allows authors to track their publications and influence using Google Scholar metrics. Mendeley is a free reference manager and social network that was recently acquired by Elsevier. Mendeley is described as “one of the world’s largest crowd-sourced research catalogs” Zotero is a robust and growing citation management and sharing resource. Collaborators can share libraries of references, etc.
    18. 18. Make Sense of the Diversity of Research Outputs Use an aggregator! Harvest data Automatic updates Showcase scholarly influence
    19. 19. Tools to gather data Commercial • –owned by Macmillan Publishers (also owns the Nature Publishing Group). “Provides article level metrics for researchers and publishers” • Plum Analytics – startup co-founded by former Summon developers; recently acquired by EBSCO. Collects article-level data for use by different constituencies to compare individuals, departments, universities.
    20. 20. Tools to gather data Commercial • – Reference manager, .pdf organizer & social networking tool for researchers/authors. Collects & displays altmetrics. Recently purchased by Elsevier. “Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE) is an analytics tool built on top of Mendeley that helps librarians, research directors and other admins to understand the research activity and scholarship output of their community and to facilitate collaboration within it (”
    21. 21. Tools to gather data Non-profit • ImpactStory – designed for the individual researcher, tools to visualize impact of research products. Helps “researchers to tell data-driven stories about their impacts” (ImpactStory, 2014).
    22. 22. Images:,
    23. 23. report linked from database citation
    24. 24. PlumXTM - Library Journal’s Most Ambitious Database of 2013
    25. 25. Engaging your users…
    26. 26. Engaging Constituents • Don’t assume anyone knows anything about altmetrics • New (tenure track) scholars & clinicians • Explain limitations of both traditional citation metrics & altmetrics • Demonstrate the power of a Google Scholar Profile, institutional profile, and an ImpactStory Profile
    27. 27. Scholars’ Engagement with Social Media • Important to maintain and manage an online presence • Outreach to the public – broader impacts criteria – required by some funding agencies • Mentions in social media seem to lead to enhanced use of publications • Dizzying array of social media tools
    28. 28. Strategy for Scientific Social Networking Goals 1. Choose one or two primary platforms – Institutional platform & Google Scholar 2. Accurate attribution of research products – ORCID and other identifiers 3. Keep profile(s) up to date 4. Regularly monitor scientific social networks The “best” social network depends on the discipline and individual preferences.
    29. 29. Platforms: To showcase and highlight research products Institutional Profiling Service Google Scholar
    30. 30. Valid data = Valid metrics • Accurate attribution is essential! • Scholarly authors are assigned Scopus Author Identifiers, Web of Science Researcher ID’s, etc. • Scholars can claim and make public their Google Scholar profile • Scholars can (and should) register for a unique ORCID number – can use this identifier when publishing
    31. 31. ORCID Open Researcher Identifier Free service that assigns a unique number to each author and links other identification schemes. Encourage researchers to use consistent naming conventions and register for an ORCID ID!
    32. 32. Problem: author disambiguation John F. Dannenhoffer III Syracuse University Joan V. Dannenhoffer Syracuse University John F. Dannenhoffer IV PhD Candidate, University of Michigan Joanne V. Dannenhoffer M.D. May 2013 Joanne M. Dannenhoffer Central Michigan University (spouses) (siblings) (siblings) Databases see all of these people as: J Dannenhoffer JV Dannenhoffer JF Dannenhoffer JM Dannenhoffer
    33. 33. Keep profiles up-to-date • Great deal of unpublished work can be harvested and promoted • Immediate data can be provided • Recognize that open profiles are the first impression of both you and your research
    34. 34. What’s new in Altmetrics? “Altmetrics … give early estimates of the impact of publications or [to] give estimates of non-traditional types of impact “ (Sud, 2014).
    35. 35. Published literature increasing Query: altmetrics or citation metricsQuery: altmetrics OR “citation metrics” – in Title-Abstract-Keyword
    36. 36. Vendors capturing & displaying data
    37. 37. New literature
    38. 38. Altmetrics: A 21st-century solution to determining research quality • Basic overview of altmetrics & citation metrics • Author provides types of altmetrics and their correlation to citation counts (via published articles) • An article’s DOI can be used on ImpactStory to discover article’s metrics. Konkiel, S. (2013). Altmetrics: A 21st-century solution to determining research quality. Online Searcher, 37(4), 10-15.
    39. 39. Evaluating altmetrics • Altmetrics are important b/c they give early estimates of an article’s impact. • Citations from the social web may indicate value oriented more towards applications than pure scientific utility. • Describes statistical methods to evaluate relationship between altmetrics & established tools. Sud, P., & Thelwall, M. (2014). Evaluating altmetrics. Scientometrics, 98(2), 1131-1143.
    40. 40. Coverage and adoption of altmetrics sources in the bibliometric community • Reviews current altmetrics literature • Examined used & coverage of social media in bibliometricians. (quantitatively analyze academic literature). • Makes the argument that “total readership” is important b/c it reflects pure (non-publishing) uses of publications – docs applied to daily work, support teaching, societal effects Haustein, Stefanie, Isabella Peters, Judit Bar-Ilan, Jason Priem, Hadas Shema, and Jens Terliesner. "Coverage and adoption of altmetrics sources in the bibliometric community." arXiv preprint arXiv:1304.7300 (2013).
    41. 41. Do altmetrics correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective • An extensive article! • Large study of 718,315 publications from Web of Science with altmetric indicators provided by (excluded Mendeley) • Used Pearson’s correlation analysis to find connection between altmetrics & bibliometrics Costas, R., Zahedi, Z., & Wouters, P. (2014). Do altmetrics correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective. arXiv preprint arXiv:1401.4321.
    42. 42. Do altmetrics correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective • Altmetric counts are low (15-24%)& not very frequent in scientific pubs, although presence is increasing • Social sciences, humanities, and medical & life sciences had highest presence of altmetrics • Found positive weak correlation between altmetrics & citations – reflecting that altmetrics do not capture the same concepts of impact • Altmetrics are valued as a complementary tool of citation analysis
    43. 43. Altmetrics & Researchers Metrics and their relationship to social media: • Add value to traditionally published content – Crowdsourced peer review – Expose questions and comments – Enhance worth • Increase readership • Appear to follow the pattern of traditional metrics
    44. 44. Thank you!! Linda Galloway Contributors: Janet Pease Anne Rauh Syracuse University Library
    45. 45. References Adie, Euan, and William Roe. 2013. “Altmetric: Enriching Scholarly Content with Article-level Discussion and Metrics.” Learned Publishing 26: 11–17. doi:10.1087/20130103. Arslan, E., Akyokus, S., & Ganiz, M. C. (2013). An application of community discovery in academical social networks. In 2013 IEEE International Symposium on Innovations in Intelligent Systems and Applications (INISTA) (pp. 1–5). doi:10.1109/INISTA.2013.6577650 Bik, Holly M., and Miriam C. Goldstein. 2013. “An Introduction to Social Media for Scientists.” PLoS Biol 11: e1001535. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001535. Bushman, Mike, and Andrea Michalek. 2013. “Are Alternative Metrics Still Alternative?” ASIS&T Bulletin (May). 13/AprMay13_Buschman_Michalek.pdf. Cameron, Brian D. 2005. “Trends in the Usage of ISI Bibliometric Data: Uses, Abuses, and Implications.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 5 (1): 105–125. doi:10.1353/pla.2005.0003. CiteULike. 2013. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed April 29. Costas, R., Zahedi, Z., & Wouters, P. (2014). Do altmetrics correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective. arXiv:1401.4321 [cs]. Retrieved from Eysenbach, G. 2011. “Can Tweets Predict Citations? Metrics of Social Impact Based on Twitter and Correlation with Traditional Metrics of Scientific Impact.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 13: e123. Faculty of 1000. 2013. “About.” Accessed April 29. Fenner, M. (2013). What Can Article-Level Metrics Do for You? PLoS Biol, 11(10), e1001687. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001687 Gonzalez-Pereira, Borja, Vicente Guerrero-Bote, and Felix Moya-Anegon. 2009. “The SJR Indicator: A New Indicator of Journals’ Scientific Prestige.” arXiv:0912.4141. Haustein, S., Peters, I., Bar-Ilan, J., Priem, J., Shema, H., & Terliesner, J. (2013). Coverage and adoption of altmetrics sources in the bibliometric community. Scientometrics, 1–19. doi:10.1007/s11192-013-1221-3 Haustein, S., Peters, I., Sugimoto, C. R., Thelwall, M., & Larivière, V. (2013). Tweeting biomedicine: An analysis of tweets and citations in the biomedical literature. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, doi:10.1002/asi.23101 Hirsch, J. E. 2005. “An Index to Quantify an Individual’s Scientific Research Output.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102: 16569–16572. doi:10.1073/pnas.0507655102.
    46. 46. References Jacso, Peter. 2006. “Deflated, Inflated and Phantom Citation Counts.” Online Information Review 30: 297–309. doi: Kaur, J., Radicchi, F., & Menczer, F. (2013). Universality of scholarly impact metrics. Journal of Informetrics, 7(4), 924–932. doi:10.1016/j.joi.2013.09.002 Konkiel, S. (2013). Altmetrics: A 21st Century Solution to Determining Research Quality. Retrieved from Mendeley Ltd. 2012. “Mendeley.” ORCID Inc. 2012. “ORCID.” Piwowar, Heather. 2013. “Altmetrics: Value All Research Products.” Nature 493: 159–159. doi:10.1038/493159a. PLOS Biology: What Can Article-Level Metrics Do for You? (2013). Retrieved February 10, 2014, from Priem, Jason. 2013. “Scholarship: Beyond the Paper.” Nature 495: 437–440. doi:10.1038/495437a. Priem, Jason, and Heather A. Piwowar. 2013. “ImpactStory: Tell the Full Story of Your Research Impact.” Accessed April 9. Priem, Jason, Dario Taraborelli, Paul Groth, and Neylon, Cameron. 2010. “Altmetrics: a Manifesto –” Altmetrics: a Manifesto. 26. SCImago. 2007. “SJR - Scimago Journal & Country Rank.” Shuai, Xin, Alberto Pepe, and Johan Bollen. 2012. “How the Scientific Community Reacts to Newly Submitted Preprints: Article Downloads, Twitter Mentions, and Citations.” arXiv:1202.2461. Sud, P., & Thelwall, M. (2014). Evaluating altmetrics. Scientometrics, 98(2), 1131–1143. doi:10.1007/s11192-013-1117-2 Thomson Reuters. 2012. “Journal Citation Reports Help.”