Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nature > Alternative Metrics

As the old 'publish or perish' adage is brought into question, additional research-impact indices, known as altmetrics, are offering new evaluation alternatives. But such metrics may need to adjust to the evolution of science publishing.

Today, a growing frustration among researchers is that the impact of their contribution to science is mostly assessed on the basis of out-of-date mechanisms including impact factor and citation measurements. This discontent occurs as we are reaching a turning point in science publishing history where the essence of the peer-review process has been called into question.

Indeed, the drive to find alternative metrics is a symptom of a community where research evaluation is not functioning well. A new movement called altmetrics — eloquently described through a manifesto1 published in 2010 and arguably a variation on the theme of what is referred to as webometrics or social media metrics — revisits the measurement of a scientist's worth. Rather than using peer-reviewed journal articles, alternative metrics range from other types of research output to a researchers' reputation made via their footprint on the social web.


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