Wednesday, September 18, 2013

S&TL > Introduction to Altmetrics for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Librarians

Science & Technology Libraries

Linda M. Galloway, Janet L. Pease & Anne E. Rauh
Published online: 12 Sep 2013 / DOI:10.1080/0194262X.2013.829762


Quantifying scholarly output via citation metrics is the time-honored method to gauge academic success. Altmetrics, or alternative citation metrics, provide researchers and scholars with new ways to track influence across evolving modes of scholarly communication. This article will give librarians an overview of new trends in measuring scholarly influence, introduce them to altmetrics tools, and encourage them to engage with researchers in discussion of these new metrics.


Paying attention to and collecting alternative metrics about research products will vary according to one's field and scholarly community. Authors should be encouraged to explore and engage with social media tools already in use in their disciplines and be mindful of emerging tools. Scholars are beginning to go “beyond the paper” and engage with their colleagues via Twitter, blogs, and reference managers (Priem 2013). These types of interactions will continue to increase, and those who remain unengaged will likely be left out of important discussions. Increasingly, it is important to not only read the newest journal article, but to follow the chatter about the research in social media platforms. Reluctant social media adopters may be encouraged to engage once they understand that it is perfectly acceptable to simply read or observe, rather than post or tweet.

Awareness of new metric tools and how they relate to social media is important knowledge for producers of scholarly output. These tools complement existing readership, promote work to new readers, and measure outputs in concert with traditional scholarly metrics. As a complement to traditional citation metrics, altmetrics can provide a more rapid assessment and arguably a more complete picture of an individual's scholarly influence. Altmetrics tools can also help illustrate the value of scholarly output beyond publications.
Tracking the relevance and significance of these research products requires knowledge of the practices within a discipline and the foresight to predict what may be important to track in the future. While altmetrics can help researchers by vetting, organizing, and adding value to information products retrieved, it is essential to contextualize these data. Information professionals, with knowledge of both traditional and emerging scholarly metrics, are able to bridge the divide between these forms of scholarly engagement.

>>> Thanks to Lorrie Pellack for the HeadUp ! <<<

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