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Altmetrics (alternate or alternative metrics) is the study of newer web-based scholarly metrics that consider the total influence of authors through blogposts, social media, Twitter and Slideshare, among a range of other tools. Social engagement data is culled from the total viewings of articles, retweets of publications and knowledge objects, mentions on social media and aggregated as a measure of total impact. In other words, altmetrics looks beyond traditional metrics at the social web and mines information from it for analysis and detailed examination. An emerging area of the alternative metrics discourse is the idea of owning your social data. The idea is that connecting with others socially is part of our work as academics, and we shouldn't have to trade away our personal information to participate in social networks. The vision for altmetrics is summarized in this SPARC altmetrics primer.
The exponential increase in scholarly output has created a deluge of data on the web. There are concerns that information is swamping scholarly publishing channels and the means of peer review and post-publication. To complicate matters, an increase in the use of web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, Mendeley and social media such as blogs and wikis present opportunities to create new information filters and improve knowledge management. The metrics based on diverse sets of "social sources" may yet yield a broader, richer and more timely view of current and potential scholarly impact. Some authors, who have done preliminary work in this emerging field, have dubbed the phenomenon “altmetrics”, or alternative metrics.
Alternative metrics (metrics at an article or interaction level on the web) is a type of altmetrics or total metrics. Despite the growing speculation and early exploratory investigation into the value of altmetrics, there still remains little concrete, objective research into the properties of these metrics: their validity, their potential value and flaws, and what relationship they have to established scholarly measures. Nor has there been any large umbrella to bring these multiple approaches together. That said, some scholarly tracking tools have implemented early altmetric features; see Scopus altmetrics. For the latest generation of altmetrics software, see ImpactStory.
Presentations on altmetrics
see also Beyond Publish or Perish: Alternative Metrics for Scholarship Password: altmetrics
See also Altmetrics.org for a list of other altmetric tools
Jason Priem, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science
Check out Jason Priem's website, and posts re: a study of scholars on Twitter and what it means for altmetrics, and the future of scholarly publication: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/11/21/altmetrics-twitter/ Jason's altmetrics presentations are worth a close look: “Toward a Second Revolution: Data citation, altmetrics, and the Decoupled Journal”
Article level metrics & altmetrics
Alternative metrics (often at an article-level) are a type of altmetrics or total metrics. Generally, altmetrics refers to usage metrics such as views or mentions on social media. The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) started publishing article-level metrics a few years ago, including views and tweets ("tweetations"). Tweets were later found to predict highly-cited items leading Eysenbach to propose "twimpact factors", ie., the number of tweets within the first 7 days of publication; and twindex, the rank percentile of the twimpact factor of an article compared to similar articles within the same journal (Eysenbach, 2011). JMIR publishes its article-level metrics (including the twimpact factor) on its Top Articles page. The Public Library of Science also introduced article level metrics on every article in all of their titles.
Bibliometrics and scientometrics
Bibliometrics and scientometrics are two closely-related fields that aim to measure scientific publications and science in general. A lot of the research that falls under this topic involves citation analysis, or examining how scholars cite one another in publications. Author citation data can show a lot about scholar networks and scholarly communication, linkages between scholars, and the development of areas of knowledge over time. Modern scientometrics is based on the work of Derek J de Solla Price and Eugene Garfield.