March 22, 2012
The more scholars move their work online from where it was once ephemeral and hidden, the more they are integrating social media to their communication, the closer we are to telling what is the value that they themselves add to their content – and to blending these isolated factors to create a certain taste, a flavor.
Jason Priem, whose talk on finding an n-dimensional impact space I recently examined on our blog, and Heather Piwowar (Research Remix), who studies the behavior of shared article clusters and post-publication datasets, together with Bradley M. Hemminger, have just presented a preprint to their manuscript on Altmetrics in the Wild: Using Social Media to Explore Scholarly Impact.
“Articles cluster in ways that suggest different impact flavors,” they suggest in their work, sampling more than 20,000 articles, in search of a tool that would be complementary to traditional bibliometrics – that would measure process, instead of simply counting product, that would add a rich scale to the product, instead of simply keeping count.
From the abstract: “In growing numbers, scholars are integrating social media tools like blogs, Twitter, and Mendeley into their professional communications. The online, public nature of these tools exposes and reifies scholarly processes once hidden and ephemeral. Metrics based on this activities could inform broader, faster measures of impact, complementing traditional citation metrics. Alternative metrics,” Piwowar et al. explain later on, “or “altmetrics” build on information from social media use, and could be employed side-by-side with citations — one tracking formal, acknowledged influence, and the other tracking the unintentional and informal “scientific street cred”. The future, then, could see altmetrics and traditional bibliometrics presented together as complementary tools presenting a nuanced, multidimensional view of multiple research impacts at multiple time scales.”
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