Do altmetrics assess societal impact in the same way as case studies? An empirical analysis testing the convergent validity of altmetrics based on data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF)

« Altmetrics have been proposed as a way to assess the societal impact of research. Although altmetrics are already in use as impact or attention metrics in different contexts, it is still not clear whether they really capture or reflect societal impact. This study is based on altmetrics, citation counts, research output and case study data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF), and peers’ REF assessments of research output and societal impact. We investigated the convergent validity of altmetrics by using two REF datasets: publications submitted as research output (PRO) to the REF and publications referenced in case studies (PCS). Case studies, which are intended to demonstrate societal impact, should cite the most relevant research papers. (…) »