Altmetrics and Library Outreach
“Altmetrics, or alternative citation metrics, can help inform scholarship by providing near real-time analyses of scholarly output. In addition, altmetric values are popping up everywhere – from PLOS ONE articles to Elsevier journals. Librarians can help faculty and researchers by contextualizing altmetrics within the landscape of traditional citation metrics and recommending how to get started.
Traditional citation metrics quantify scholarly output by measuring a researcher’s number of publications, citations to those publications, and the relative influence of the publications. Typically, a faculty member also considers their h-index as an important metric – an h-index of 7 means that an author has published at least 7 papers that have been cited 7 times. While traditional citation metrics are the gold standard, there are limitations. They do not capture a publication’s impact or influence in emerging forms of scholarly communication, are often behind pay walls, measure influence narrowly, and take a long time to accumulate.
Altmetrics are not citation metrics, but can complement and enhance a researcher’s scholarly presence. Beyond citation counts, altmetrics measure diverse impacts from articles, blog posts, slide shows, datasets and other forms of scholarly communication. Altmetrics quantify a different type of reader engagement with scholarly literature – more personal and meaningful. If a reader takes the time to save an article to their personal library and then tweet or blog about it, it may indicate that the article is more compelling than the one that was simply downloaded to a reference manager. And what about post-publication peer review – the comments that are now permitted in some online scholarly publications? These types of personal, thoughtful interactions with scholarly literature are both timely and valuable.
· ImpactStory – designed for the individual researcher, tools to visualize impact of research products. Helps “researchers to tell data-driven stories about their impacts”.
· Altmetric.com –owned by Macmillan Publishers (also owns the Nature Publishing Group). “Provides article level metrics for researchers and publishers”.
· Mendeley.com – Reference manager, .pdf organizer & social networking tool for researchers/authors. Collects & displays altmetrics. Recently purchased by Elsevier.
· Plum Analytics – startup co-founded by former Summon developers; recently acquired by EBSCO.Collects article-level data for use by different constituencies to compare individuals, departments, universities
· Costas, R., Zahedi, Z., & Wouters, P. (2014). Do altmetrics correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective. arXiv preprint arXiv:1401.4321 .
· Galligan, F., & Dyas-Correia, S. (2013). Altmetrics: Rethinking the way we measure. Serials Review, 39(1), 56-61.
· Impact Story blog http://blog.impactstory.org/
· Roemer, R. C., & Borchardt, R. (2013). Institutional Altmetrics and Academic Libraries. Information Standards Quarterly, 25(2), 14. http://www.niso.org/publications/isq/2013/v25no2/roemer/
 Galloway, L. Altmetrics, Library Outreach and Value. Association of College & Research Libraries. Value of Academic Libraries. Committee. Blog. May 2014. <http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/?s=altmetrics&searchsubmit=>\