Another look at ‘altmetrics’ for scholars

Altmetrics is the creation and study of new metrics based on the social web for analyzing, and informing scholarship. The vision for altmetrics is summarized in:

“…In growing numbers, scholars are moving their everyday work to the web. Online reference managers Zotero and Mendeley each claim to store over 40 million articles (making them substantially larger than PubMed); as many as a third of scholars are on Twitter, and a growing number tend scholarly blogs. …”


The exponential increase in scholarly output has created a deluge of data. There is also a growing concern information of all types is swamping traditional means of peer review and post-publication. Moreover, increased scholarly use of web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, Mendeley and blogs present opportunities to create filters. Web metrics based on a diverse set of social sources could yield broader, richer, and timelier assessments of scholarly impact. Some authors have called for investigation of this potential calling it “altmetrics.”

Despite growing speculation into the value of altmetrics, there remains little concrete, objective research into the properties of these metrics: their validity, their potential value and flaws, and their relationship to established measures. Nor has there been any large umbrella to bring these multiple approaches together.

Jason Priem, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Information & Library Science

Check out Jason Priem’s website, and posts re: a study of scholars on Twitter and what it means for altmetrics, and the future of scholarly publication: Jason’s altmetrics presentations are worth a close look: Toward a Second Revolution: Data citation, altmetrics, and the Decoupled Journal”

Related research

See also Impact factor, citation analysis and Web of Science vs. Scopus

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