Saturday, December 1, 2012

From Bibliometrics to Altmetrics A Changing Scholarly Landscape

C&RL News > 73 (10) > November 2012 > Robin Chin Roemer and Rachel Borchardt

When future Science Citation Index founder Eugene Garfield first came up with the idea of journal impact factor in 1955, it never occurred to him “that it would one day become the subject of widespread controversy.”

Today, techniques for measuring scholarly impact—traditionally known as bibliometrics —are well known for generating conflict and concern, particularly as tenure-track scholars reach beyond previously set boundaries of discipline, media, audience, and format. From the development of more nuanced academic specialties to the influence of blogs and social media, questions about the scope of scholarly impact abound, even as the pressure to measure such impact continues unabated or increases.

As faculty at universities around the world struggle to find new ways of providing evidence of their changing scholarly value, many librarians have stepped forward to help negotiate the landscape of both traditional impact metrics, such as h-index and journal impact factor, and emerging Web-based alternatives, sometimes called altmetrics, cybermetrics, or webometrics. With interest in online venues for scholarly communication on the rise, and the number of tools available for tracking online influence growing steadily, librarians are in a key position to take the lead in bolstering researchers’ knowledge of current trends—and concerns—in the new art and science impact measurement.


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