Altmetrics are defined by altmetric.org as “the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship.” The use of altmetrics in assessing researcher impact is emerging as a potential alternative or supplement to the traditional bibliometrics of citation counts and impact factor. Altmetrics data include mentions, discussions and downloads within online platforms such as social media outlets, institutional repositories, and discipline-based networks. Using altmetrics to inform online impact tends to be more immediate and visible than citation counts from journal articles, which can take years to develop and are often restricted to subscribers. The immediacy and visibility factor is especially advantageous for new faculty and graduate students in building scholarly impact.
Open access platforms are increasingly offering altmetrics as a way to capture the impact of the various works included. ScholarWorks, Georgia State’s institutional repository, includes downloads and views of each work submitted by authors. This information is tracked and emailed to the author each month. All of the content in ScholarWorks is accessible from search engines such as Google, which increases visibility and in turn, potential impact.
The following are two examples of open access websites with altmetrics features:
- Academia.edu: an international network of researchers from all disciplines. Researchers can set up a profile, upload works, and follow researchers with similar research interests at no cost. Altmetric features include downloads and views.
- BioMedCentral: a publisher of peer-reviewed open access journals, this site includes several altmetric designations such as “highly accessed”, “highly cited”, etc. In addition, full-time faculty at GSU can apply to publish in a BioMed Central journal at no cost. There is also a link to search all GSU-authored articles.
For more information on open access and altmetrics:
Mounce, R. (2013). Open access and altmetrics : Distinct but complementary. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Society and Technology, 39 (4), 14-17.
Pasquini, L.A., Wakefield, J.S., & Roman, T. (2014). Impact factor: Early career research and digital scholarship. TechTrends, 58 (6), 12-13.
Piwowar, H., & Priem, J. (2013). The power of altmetrics on a CV. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Society and Technology, 39 (4), 10-13.