This guide presents the tools that are available to measure the quantitative and qualitative impact of research; as well as how to track researcher impact.
A clearer understanding of impact, showing which scholarly work are read, discussed, saved and suggested, as well as cited.
[Taken from: Altmetrics: What, Why and Where?]
The internet has transformed scholarly communication, including the traditional process of measuring the impact of published research. Altmetrics is the alternative metric to using only journal impact factor and personal indices (e.g. the H-index) to quantify the reach and impact of publications of individual researchers. It has its roots in the twitter #altmetrics hashtag since 2010. Altmetrics does not substitute citation counts or the H-index, but complements the article impact within the scholarly community and beyond. Citations are slow to accumulate and often overlook new forms of scholarly content through datasets, software and scholarly blogs.
Altmetric tools allow researchers to collect and share the broad impact of their research. Below are some of the more popular tools:
There is an association between altmetrics and open access, as data comes from open sources. Altmetrics can be embedded into institutional repositories or third-party systems. Open access research outputs are promoted via social web applications and has higher visibility and accessibility than those published within subscription-based journals. This may increase the level of engagement by the public.
Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) provides a new approach to quantify the reach and impact of individual articles. Historically, the impact of research was measured at the journal level only. If a journal had a high impact factor, by association, all the artices within the journal were viewed as impactful. As research is now disseminated electronically, individual journal articles can now be evaluated on its merit, regardless of the citation impact of the publication in which it appears. ALMs incorporate the traditional measures (e.g. times cited), as well as the new data sources (e.g. tweets) to provide an even broader view of the performance and reach of an article.
An example of ALMs used in journals publised by the Public Library of Science:
A few publishers have incorporated Article Level Metrics (ALMs) to their publishing platform to evaluate the usage and reach of individual articles, which can include Altmetrics, which is increasingly being applied in scholarly publications:
Adie, E. and Roe, W. (2013). "Altmetric: Enriching Scholarly Content with Article-Level Discussion and Metrics." Learned Publishing 26(1): 11-17.
Alperin, J. (2013). "Ask Not What Altmetrics Can Do for You, but What Altmetrics Can Do for Developing Countries."Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 39(4): 18-21.
Howard, J. (2012) "Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online" The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 November.
LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog, a blog that share best practice on research and keeps the research community up to date with events and new developmens in this area.
Priem, J. Piwowar, H.A. & Hemminger, Bradley M. (2012)Altmetrics in the Wild: Using Social Media to Explore Scholarly Impact
Tananbaum, G. (2013). Article level metrics: a SPARC primer
Terras. M. (2012) 'Open access and the Twitter effect'