A broader view of research impact through Altmetric – Euan Adie, Founder of Altmetric

« The rapidly evolving academic research and publishing community is seeing many digital developments, one of which is being compared to « the Wild West. » The altmetric movement proposed an alternative to the popular journal impact factor and personal citation indices such as the h-index. From this new frontier, Euan Adie explains some things that you as a researcher ought to consider about research impact (…)

Like other metrics, altmetrics provides part of a picture and not the full picture, but together they create a more balanced view. Can you explain this to our readers? Can you guide new users on points to consider when weighing an Altmetric to ensure a truer altmetric value?  

We take a very conservative approach, which is I think the right one at this stage. There are many research groups looking at altmetrics data, into what it means and doesn’t mean, where there are accidental biases, and how different fields differ in online behavior when it comes to scholarly output. Until a deeper understanding of the metrics comes out of these kinds of projects, I think altmetrics are best used as an indicator; in the broadest sense of the word, high altmetrics counts indicate that there’s something interesting about a particular article and that you should investigate further.

There are some additional things to bear in mind because altmetrics uses a lot of online attention. Specifically older papers – for us anything before mid 2011 – won’t show much, say, Twitter attention because we weren’t tracking them from the point at which they were published (…) »