From bibliometrics to altmetrics

AltmetricsDanielle Padula, Community Development Coordinator at Scholastica, and Catherine Williams, Head of Marketing at Altmetric, introduce the changing landscape of research referencing in an article published on LSE blog: Enter Alternative Metrics: Indicators that capture the value of research and richness of scholarly discourse

Altmetrics are an alternative to bibliometrics as they are gathered from mentions of research in nontraditional online outlets. These mentions can be number of views, of downloads, network shares… on databases, social media, news media, post-publication peer review forums, blogs, Wikipedia, and more. Thus, altmetrics can be applied to nontraditional research and scholarly outputs and they often challenge the Impact Factor (IF) because it can take months to years to generate article citations, especially for research in the humanities and social sciences. The authors explain that “Alternative metrics make it possible for authors of newer works to show that their research is being read and used long before it is formally cited, and often almost immediately following publication.”

Also note that altmetrics are more meant to show that “research is being discussed but leaving it to the reader to determine whether that buzz is warranted, or indeed occurring for positive or negative reasons. The cause of altmetrics impact can vary, much like high counts of bibliometric article citations can be linked to article endorsements or references to previous articles’ errors.”

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