Altmetrics or Alternative Metrics, the BUZZ word in measuring research impact via online social mentions from Facebook, twitter, blogs, social bookmarking and referencing tools, etc. Altmeric.com, Plum Analytics, ImpactStory and Research Scorecard are one of the many companies that had sprung up to create tools to help understand these metrics. PLoS calls these “article-level metrics” and displays them with each article published.

Not familiar with altmetrics?

  • Read introduction slides on what is Alternative Metrics by Chia Yew Boon
  • Read this article “Altmetrics: Value all research products” by Heather Piowowar who shared that the US National Science Foundation (NSF) now also takes into account a scientist’s worth based on the data sets, software, patents, copyrights and other non-traditional research productions other than their publications. Piowowar believes that in the next 5 years, it will be come routine to track – and to value – citations to an online lab notebook, contributions to a software library, bookmarks to data sets from content-sharing sites such as Pinterest and Delicious. In other words, to value a wider range of metrics that suggest a research product has made a difference.
  • Read this sharing by KevintheLibrarian on “Altmetrics and evaluating scholarly impact: what’s out there and how can we participate
  • Read Mike Talyor’s “The Challenges of Measuring Social Impact Using Altmetrics
  • ImpactStory gives a nice table on the types of platforms and tools that provide data for altmetrics applications.
    Types of data Examples
    General social networking applications Mentions, links, ‘likes’, bookmarks to articles Twitter, Facebook, Del.icio.us
    Specialized research tools Links, bookmarks, recommendations, additions to reading groups Zotero.org, Mendeley.com, Citeulike.org
    Publisher platforms Web page views, PDF downloads, Abstract views PLoS, Scopus, Pubmed
    Research output, publishing components Views, recommendations, shares Github.com, Datadryad.org, Slideshare.net, Figshare.com,

To share an interesting quote from Kevinthelibrarian.wordpress.com :-

Librarians working in research environments will need to keep up with altmetrics to evaluate the impact of literature needed for their collection, and to direct researchers to high impact journals for publishing. The shift towards open access publishing will also make altmetrics a valuable tool for librarians to evaluate the impact and quality of these publications.

Image Credit: cc licensed ( BY SA-2.0 ) flickr photo shared by AJ Cann

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