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Scholarly Impact Research Guide

This guide provides information and instruction on the different types of metrics used to evaluate and locate one's scholarly metrics.

Intro to Altmetrics

Altmetrics are statistics sourced from the social web that can be used to help you understand the many ways that your work has had an impact with other scholars, the public, policy makers, practitioners, and more. They are useful supplementary measures of impact, best used in tandem with traditional measures like citation counts. Together, the two types of metrics can illustrate the full impact of your work.

Since Altmetrics is a general term, there are many different types of alternative metrics one can collect such as:

Boosting, Using, and Tracking Altmetrics

People tend to cite, tweet, blog, bookmark, and view work that they can access online. So start sharing your work!

Here are some places you can share your work:

  • Articles, Books & Book Chapters: publish with open access journals or university presses, or archive your work* on subject repositories (ArXiv, SSRN, PeerJ Preprints, BioRxiv), and general repositories (Figshare & Zenodo)
  • Data: general repositories (Figshare & Zenodo) and subject repositories (ICPSR, PDB, TreeBase, KNB, and more) offer both discoverability and preservation services for research data
  • Software: GitHub is a popular software development platform that interfaces with Figshare and Zenodo to archive issue DOIs for software; Bitbucket and Sourceforge are also used to share software
  • Slides: Slideshare, Speakerdeck, and Figshare
  • Posters: Figshare, and Zenodo
  • Videos: Vimeo, Youtube, and Figshare
  • Figures: Figshare, Flickr, and Instagram Peer Reviews: Publons, PubPeer, and ScienceOpen ​

* Before publicly posting your articles and books, be sure you have the rights to do so. More information on your rights as an author can be found on the SPARC website.

An increasing number of researchers are using altmetrics to help document the varied impacts of their work in their CVs, tenure & promotion dossiers, and grant and job applications. 

TIP: When using altmetrics to document your impact, keep in mind that context is very important for making the numbers you list meaningful. So, rather than include raw counts of your article's metrics:

Author, A. (2015). "Title." Journal name. doi:10.000/10.100x
Citations: 4 / Twitter mentions: 21 / Mendeley bookmarks: 91 / Blog mentions: 12

...you should provide contextual information that communicates to your viewer how your paper or other research output has performed relative to others' papers/outputs:

Author, A. (2015). "Title." Journal name. doi:10.000/10.100x
Citations: 4 - listed in the 98th percentile of Biology research published in 2015 on Impactstory.
Other impact metrics: listed on Altmetric.com as being in the 96th percentile of papers published in Journal name and the 87th percentile of papers published in 2015.
International impact: this paper has been mentioned, bookmarked, or viewed in at least 43 countries, according to Impactstory.

TIP: Qualitative data is also a good way to provide context for the attention your work has received. You can find full-text mentions of your work using altmetrics services, and include them in your website, CV, or dossier like so:

Author, A. (2015). "Title." Journal name. doi:10.000/10.100x
Paper covered by more than 100 media outlets worldwide, including The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian.
Recommended on 12 research blogs, putting it in the 99th percentile of Biology publications published in 2015. Was described as "a breakthrough study on examples" by prominent genetics and evolution researcher Rosie Redfield.

Using in CVs & Resumes

Ethan White, Ecology, Utah State University

Scott Ross, Conservation Biology, Oklahoma State University

Screencap of a resume that includes the statement "Paper ranked #62 globally on Altmetric 2013 top 100 of academic research"

Marie Soressi, Archaeology, Centre Archéologique d'Orléans/Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Credits:  Brandi Tuttle, Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives for allowing me to use some information from her  Publication Metrics Guide

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