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Altmetrics as indicators of public impact


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Scholarly citations can be traced all the way back to the 15th century, but in the 21st century the internet, social media and the open access movement have made it easier than ever before for the public to engage with scholarly outputs. Altmetrics provide a measure of public engagement with web-native scholarship. They can be embedded into publishing platforms and institutional repositories as article-level metrics, and they provide evidence of impact for open access mandates.

Three leading altmetrics aggregators are discussed:;; An institutional systems approach is recommended to mitigate the "pond-mentality" of the growing number of sources that provide measures of impact for research output. Research profiling systems are able to harvest most of these ponds and so save time for the researcher and research manager. In addition, national profiling systems would leverage economies of scale to increase the visibility and impact of all players, making it easier for potential investors and collaborators to find research partners.

Altmetricians are challenged to develop a metric that measures the openness of a research entity.

Published in: Education, Technology
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Altmetrics as indicators of public impact

  1. 1. Altmetrics as indicators of public impact Pat Loria, Charles Sturt University Library Open Access and Research Conference QUT, Brisbane Australia, 31 Oct – 1 Nov 2013 DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  2. 2. Scholarly citation timeline Voltaire (1744): "the empty, sterile science of facts and dates" 1560 In-text citations in Pasquier’s Recherches de la France 1450 Printing Press 1696 Scholarly footnotes in Bayle's Historical and Critical Dictionary 1906 2004 Chicago Manual of Style Facebook & Google Scholar 1498 1665 1700-1828 1950 2006 Endnotes in Richard White’s Histories [of Britain] First scientific journal Various controversies and debates documented over content, purpose and use of citations Development of citation indexing (Eugene Garfield) Twitter Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Scholarly communication uses available communication systems 2010-2013 Various controversies and debates over use and value of citations via social media DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  3. 3. The rise of social media1 1997 2001 2003 2005 Blogging Wikipedia LinkedIn YouTube 1999 Friends Reunited (UK) • • • • 1. 2. 2002 Friendster (US) 2004 Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Podcasting 2006 Twitter 2010 Barack Obama on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace 2013 Facebook & YouTube grow to over 1 billion users each 2013 Twitter 500 million users, LinkedIn 225 million users 17 million faculty members and graduate students in the world2 DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  4. 4. Research impact matrix 17 million potential users 3 billion potential users Scholarly Public Traditional Citations Social & Mainstream Media Impact Government Industry Public Policy Research & Development Total research impact is measured across all sectors by metrics and impact narrative DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  5. 5. Altmetrics as indicators of public impact • • • • • • • • • “Altmetrics” coined by Jason Priem, cofounder of Altmetrics aggregate online impact of web-native scholarship Most aggregators have adopted an open source business model Altmetrics can be embedded into profiles, repositories & other systems Altmetrics begin accruing much faster than traditional metrics Include non-traditional outputs (datasets, software, slides, websites) Facilitate qualitative exploration of sources and sentiment of impact Altmetrics complement traditional metrics and research evaluation Provide evidence of public engagement with scholarly output A “researcher’s footprint in the community” ~ Kaitlin Thaney (Mozilla Science Lab) DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  6. 6. Altmetrics push factors • • • • • • Evidence of public impact in grant applications and funding reports Supporting evidence for employment, promotion and performance Broader understanding of impact landscape for research managers Compliment other impact metrics in repositories and public profiles Add to evidence base for government impact evaluation exercises Provide supporting evidence that open access mandates are working DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  7. 7. Altmetrics pull factors • • • • • • Researchers who want to gauge extent of public interest in their work Research groups who want to know what is creating public interest Repository managers to know how research output is being used Research managers to know how their institution is being discussed Funding agencies and research partners interested in public impact Anyone interested in seeing the impact of publicly-funded research DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  9. 9. Altmetrics for publishers and repositories DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  10. 10. Explorer Free to librarians! DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  11. 11. embeddable badges Examples of embeddable badges: DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  12. 12. Altmetric for Scopus DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  13. 13. API (example from DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  18. 18. Can also search by Groups & Individuals DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  19. 19. Future of altmetrics? • Due to growing use of social media to share research outputs, altmetrics will continue gaining prominence in measuring impact • Aggregators and users will continue collaborating to refine altmetrics web apps and develop more group and institutional reporting tools • Standards need to be developed on collection and use of altmetrics, e.g. NISO to Develop Standards for Altmetrics • Altmetrics need to be incorporated into a systems approach to tracking and recording research impact! Under cooperative games, players can coordinate their strategies and share the payoff (John C.S. Lui, Chinese University of Hong Kong) DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  20. 20. Pond mentality Is it worth the time of the researcher or the research manager? Institutional Repositories Impact Narratives Citation Databases Researcher Publishing Platforms Altmetrics Social Research Networks We need to work smart, not hard, when it comes to reporting impact DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  21. 21. Systems approach to altmetrics • Altmetrics can be harvested by third-party systems: • • • • Institutional repositories Research information management systems Research profiling systems Open Access and commercial publishers • Altmetrics are more useful in concert with: • • • • • Other impact metrics Narrative impact data A system that pulls everything together and generates internal/external reports A system that can be set up to export data to a public profiling system A system that saves the time of researchers and research management staff DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  22. 22. Altmetrics in a national profiling system? Research visibility promises better returns than research evaluation! • • • • Cooperation will increase visibility and impact for all players Aim is to increase cooperation, collaboration and productivity Reporting by field, region, institution, program, group & individual Would aggregate data from ponds and facilitate impact narrative Create capacity not competition (Pat Loria) Image: Image: DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  23. 23. In the meantime... • • • • • • Faculty liaison librarians can instruct researchers in altmetrics Researchers should think about having a research impact strategy Research managers should take deeper and broader view of impact Funding agencies to contemplate impact statement in final reports Research evaluation exercises should broaden definition of impact Altmetricians could develop metrics to measure research openness O-index = ?? DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES
  24. 24. Thank You Twitter: @pat_loria Email: DIVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES