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Scholarly Credentials Toolkit for TCNJ Faculty: Altmetrics

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What are Altmetrics (sometimes called Altimetrics)? "​Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, are new measures that take into account online reader behavior, network interactions with content, and social media. Altmetrics are meant to complement, not completely replace, traditional impact measures and are measures of online attention and engagement" (Measuring Research Impact: Altmetrics, Berkeley Library, University of California). See also Altmetrics, Duke University Medical Center Library.

Most altmetrics aggregators have so far targeted the sciences.

  • Altmetric is perhaps the most popular aggregator of the social web. Its "doughnut" tracks blog posts, invited lectures, and other contributions not traditionally measured (e.g., Mendeley saves, tweets, and "likes"). Altmetric serves as a B-to-B solution for the publishing industry, but see these free tools available to scholars including Altmetric Bookmarklet.
  • includes citation counts and provides another way to to gain access to Altmetric's doughtnut. Click here to search.
  • HuMetricsHSS or Humane Metrics Initiative is the only project geared toward the arts, humanities, and social sciences. It offers a "values-based framework" through such indicators as collegiality, quality, equity, openness, and community. As of this writing, HuMetricsHSS is in the "initial, exploratory phase of the project."
  • ImpactStory is a "freemium" service for individual scholars that doubles as a site for researcher profiles. Altmetric has more measures.
  • Microsoft Academic indexes "scholarly publications discovered and indexed by Bing." It includes citation counts and journal rankings.
  • Open Syllabus Project tracks impact in ways that have more in common with traditional citation counts. The "Teaching Score" (TS) is "a numerical indicator of the frequency with which a particular work [e.g., your book] is taught. Overall Teaching Score is based on the rank of the text among citations in the total collection" of syllabi. Use Open Syllabus Explorer to get the TS for your or another scholar's work.
  • PlumX Metrics measures five categories — citations, usage, captures, mentions, and social media — to obtain a "plumb print".

Why incorporate alternative metrics into traditional citation analyses? "Citations to published works take several years to appear, measure influence only on a select group of researchers, and are skewed toward the STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) fields. In addition, inconsistencies in author and institutional naming systems can lead to incorrect attribution of scholarly works" (Galloway 2013). In short, altmetrics can help to alleviate the shortcomings of traditional citation analysis tools by providing a more nuanced view of a scholar's impact.

Humanities Librarian

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David C. Murray
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