Methods of digitally disseminating research and scholarly communication continue to evolve. PLOS contributes to the broader “Altmetrics” movement, working to create and establish metrics for analyzing the reach and impact of published research. We are partnering with leaders across academia, publishing, and technology to establish a standardized set of metrics and best practices for collecting, displaying, and using this data.
Altmetrics capture ways in which articles are disseminated throughout in the expanding scholarly ecosystem, and reach beyond the scope of traditional trackers and filters. By monitoring and capturing the imprint of research from the moment of publication as it circulates throughout the community, altmetrics also measures the aggregate impact of the research enterprise itself.
Noteworthy altmetrics tools and services include:
The PLOS ONE Altmetrics Collection gathers an emerging body of research to seed further study and use of altmetrics. As an ever-growing collection, it aims to continually cover a range of subjects including statistical analysis of altmetrics data sources; metric validation, and identification of biases in measurements; validation of models of scientific discovery/recommendation based on altmetrics; qualitative research describing the scholarly use of online tools and environments; empirically-supported theory guiding altmetrics’ uses; and other research relating to scholarly impact in online tools and environments. The Collection is open for continued submissions across these areas.
Data Analysis and Evaluation:
Since launching ALM in March 2009, a number of different groups and individuals have independently analyzed different aspects of the dataset. Here are some noteworthy projects:
- The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age by George A. Lozano, Vincent Lariviere, Yves Gingras.
- Altmetrics in the Wild: Using Social Media to Explore Scholarly Impact by J Priem, H Piwowar, and B Hemminger, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil and National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). Using correlation and factor analysis, the results in this study suggest that citation and altmetrics indicators track related but distinct impacts, with neither able to describe the complete picture of scholarly use alone.
- The Spread of Scientific Information: Insights from the Web Usage Statistics in PLOS Article-Level Metrics by K Yan and M Gerstein, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, U.S.A. This peer reviewed articles in PLOS ONE detailscorrelation studies, usage decay patterns, and other analyses of the PLOS article Level Metrics data set.
- Mutable Mobiles: Online Journals and the Evolving Genre Ecosystem of Science by C Casper, Department of Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media, North Carolina State University, USA. This dissertation uses both quantitative and qualitative/critical methods to analyze possible new interactions between online texts that differ from those of print texts.
- Analysis: Correlating the PLOS Article-level metrics by L Juhl Jensen, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Copenhagen. This blog post analyses how various categories of metrics (such as bookmarks, blog posts, citations, downloads, ratings and trackbacks) correlate with each other. Interestingly, the author finds that after downloads, bookmarks have the next highest correlation with citations.
- Article-level metrics on FriendFeed. An open discussion forum where the community collates and discusses various article-level metrics developments.
Visit the altmetrics group on Mendeley for more scholarly papers on altmetrics.