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”.