Measuring Scholarly Impact: The Influence of “Altmetrics” on a Changing Conversation

Research Without Borders
November 13, 2012

Is the academic community ready to employ new tools to evaluate the importance and influence of scholarly works? How do “altmetrics” services and models reflect new thinking about what types of scholarly activities should be valued? View the video above to hear a panel discussion of these questions, titled “Measuring Scholarly Impact: The Influence of ‘Altmetrics’ on a Changing Conversation.” 

“Altmetrics” refers to methods of measuring scholarly impact using Web-based social media. Why does it matter? In many academic fields, attaining scholarly prestige, not to mention tenure and promotion, means publishing research articles in important scholarly journals. However, many in the academic community consider a journal's prestige, which is determined by a metric calculated using the number of citations to the journal, to be a poor proxy for the quality of the individual piece or of the individual author’s work. Many uses of a scholarly work–by practitioners, policy makers, and the general public, for example–do not result in citations. At the same time, hiring and promotion committees are looking for ways to determine the impact of alternate formats now commonly used by researchers such as blogs, data sets, videos, and social media.

Our panelists are all working with innovative new tools for assessing scholarly impact:

Jason Priem, Co-Founder, ImpactStory
Kristi Holmes, Bioinformaticist, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Caitlin Aptowicz Trasande, Head of Science Metrics, Digital Science

This event is part of the 2012-13 "Research Without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication" speaker series.