Altmetrics: Alternative Metric

The Digital Technologies are really progressing at an alarming rate, hence, the need for librarians to keep up with the changes. Of late, there is much rambling about Altmetrics which seems to be replacing Bibliometrics or incorporating some of the Bibliometrics  measures into the newly coined Altmetrics,but what does this really implies? And how does it promote scholarly work? below is my interpretation of it all.

What is Altmetrics?

Altmetrics (Alternative Metrics) which was developed in the 2010 is an evolving concept, According to Jason Priem, Paul Groth & Dario Taraborelli  Altmetrics is the study and use of scholarly impact measures based on activity in online tools and environment, that is,  it is used as an alternative measure to determine research usage and impact. Robin Chin Roemer and Rachel Borchardt states that the main distinction between Bibliometrics and Altmetrics is the type of data that is being used, with the main theory behind Altmetrics being the use of new, different types of data to determine impact and quality. Moving beyond citation-based views of scholarly influence, Altmetrics gives authors data like article page views and number of downloads, along with social media and article sharing indicators of impact that complement citation-based metrics.

How does Altmetrics work? Altmetrics maintains a relational database of online academic publishers and other information websites to record the usage level of certain articles, a ‘mashup’ of API is then created from social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit etc, to cultivate their data output in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) from there onwards it can be exported to Google sheets as (csv or pdf files) for data analysis.

During our DITA lab session, we were tasked with the assignment of searching for and exporting Altmetric datasets using Altmetric Explorer below is an example of the data obtained. It was quite an experience working with Altmetric Explorer!


How does Altmetrics promote scholarly research /workErnesto Priego 2013  suggests strategies to get your research mentioned online and supports Dr. Terras from University College London who posits, ‘If you tell people about your research, they will look at it. Your research will get looked at more than papers which are not promoted via Social Media’. Hence, it is widely believed that Altmetrics help in promoting scholarly work. Further, Khodiyar et al. 2014 noted that Altmetrics can recognize that the “peer-reviewed article is no longer the sole measure by which a researcher’s productivity can be assessed” For example, Altmetrics can measure comments so that “researchers could be evaluated both in terms of the individual’s contribution to post-publication discussions of others’ work, as well as by evaluations of the researcher’s own work by their peers”.

Information Architecture

So i’m sitting in front of the PC, starting at the blank screen, thinking…come on Clyden, you have to type something that makes sense!. Moments like these (if you ever find yourself in a similar position) don’t dare glance over at your neighbour who is pounding away at his/her keyboard making writing a “Blog” appear so easy,  if not you would end up wishing you were in the wrong class. Yes, so now that i have made my anxiety about writing a blog page and posts clear, i would now attempt to share my first exposure to the world of  Digital Information Technologies & Architecture.

What exactly is Information Architecture? Well from my understanding IA cannot be summed up in a single phrase, however for this page i will define as follows and please feel free to correct or add to this because as i indicated this is my simple interpretation…here goes: IA have to do with the creation of a structure that organizes information, hence, making it accessible to users in what appears to be a user’s friendly environment, and of course before i got to that understanding i was asking myself..Isn’t that what the Web developer does? Yes! i was that naive. However, now i can be proudly inform you that the role of a web developer is different because the web developer builds the website using specific languages such as Javascript, XML, HTML etc, while on the other hand, IA deals with what goes where, that is, keeping information carefully organised and labeled, thus making navigation on a web site easy.

The first session made me recognized the difference between the internet and the World Wide Web (www), a web page and a web site, and further enhanced by knowledge base by learning about databases, document structures, character encoding, bytes and bits and of course, blogging!!…until next time..chao.