Monday, May 28, 2012

BioMed Central Blog > Assessing Research Impact at the Article Level

Posted by Ciaran O'Neill / Friday May 25, 2012

The impact of academic research has long been measured using citations, often with the Journal Impact Factor being used to assess individual publications within it. However, the Impact Factor is a journal level - not an article level - metric and, as academic publishing and the surrounding discussion moves increasingly onto the web, novel opportunities to track and assess the impact of individual scientific publications have emerged.

These web-based approaches are starting to offer an article-level perspective of the way research is disseminated, discussed and integrated across the web. The hope is that a broader set of metrics to complement citations will eventually give a more comprehensive view of article impact, ... . is one of a growing number of web-based tools taking a novel approach to the assessment of scholarly impact – it aggregates the mentions on twitter and social media sites, and coverage in online reference managers, mainstream news sources and blogs to present an overview of the interest a published article is receiving online. BioMed Central has today added the 'donut' to the about page of published articles – the donut will display for articles receiving coverage which has been tracked by, along with an article score ... .

The donut visualization shown on the 'about this article' page aims convey information about the type of attention the article has received ... .

This summary supplements our existing article-level measures of impact – article accesses and citations are displayed on all 'about this article' pages, ... . [snip].

As more indicators of article performance, visibility and impact emerge, the hope is that authors, readers and funding institutions will be able to assess research impact in a way which is more informed than relying on Impact Factors alone. [snip]. We plan to keep adding to this range of metrics and indicators, as they continue to expose a fuller image of research impact.

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