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Introduction to
Altmetrics
@PeterKraker
Know-Center/Panton Fellow

funded within the Austrian Competence Center Programme
Why Metrics?

2

@PeterKraker
“One of the diseases of this age is the
multiplicity of books; they doth so
overcharge the world that it is not
able to digest the abundance of idle
matter that is every day hatched and
brought forth into the world.“
Attributed to Barnaby Rich in 1613 (Price 1963)

3

@PeterKraker
Information Overload in Science
Information overload is NOT a
contemporary problem in science
Science has been growing exponentially
for the last 400 years (Price 1961, 1963)
Number of papers (Larsen/von Ins 2010)
Number of researchers (NSB 2010)

Instruments to deal with the overload
Journals and conferences
Peer review
4

Quantitative measures
Price (1963)
Pathways through Science
Science Citation Index (Garfield 1955)
 Web of Science

An index of incoming citations

Purpose
Discovery of literature that
is not linked thematically

Increased collaboration between
researchers
Evaluation of science

5

Garfield (1964)
Citation-based Metrics

Impact Factor

h-Index
6
Criticisms of Citation-based Metrics
Citations take very long to appear in
meaningful quantities

Metrics are dependent on the corpus that is
used for calculation

A single indicator is not sufficient to assess
impact

7
Setting the Stage for
Alternative Metrics
Increased use of online services in the
scientific community
E-Journals and pre-print/data archives
Collaborative reference management systems
(Micro-)blogs & social networks

Seeing academic literature through the eyes of
the readers (Rowlands & Nicholas 2007)

Usage data (downloads, readership)
Links, likes and shares
8
Altmetrics
Altmetrics: alternative metrics based on data
generated in online systems

Promises of altmetrics
Assess publications quicker and on a broader scale
Consider all outputs of research

The altmetrics manifesto: http://altmetrics.org

9
Examples for Altmetrics
PLOS Article-level Metrics

Altmetric.com

ImpactStory

10
Problems of Altmetrics
Intention unknown: What does it mean to
download/save/tweet a paper?
What does it mean to aggregate
these numbers?

Altmetrics are prone to sample biases (Bollen
& van de Sompel 2008, Kraker et al. 2013)

 There is a need for a better understanding of
altmetrics
 Altmetrics data needs to be open and
reproducible

11
The Untapped Potential:
Altmetrics for Discovery

12

Bollen et al. (2009)

http://labs.mendeley.com/headstart
References
Bollen, J., & Sompel, H. Van De. (2008). Usage Impact Factor  The
:
Effects of Sample Characteristics on Usage-Based Impact Metrics.
Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 59(1998),
136–149.
Kraker, P., Jack, K., Schlögl, C., Trattner, C., & Lindstaedt, S. (2013).
Head Start: Improving Academic Literature Search with Overview
Visualizations based on Readership Statistics. In Web Science 2013.
National Science Board. (2010). Science and Engineering Labor Force.
Science and Engineering Indicators (Vol. 22 Suppl 1). National
Science Foundation.
Larsen, P. O., & von Ins, M. (2010). The rate of growth in scientific
publication and the decline in coverage provided by Science Citation
Index. Scientometrics, 84(3), 575–603.
Price, D.(1961). Science since Babylon. Yale University Press.
Price, D. (1963). Little science, big science. Columbia Univ. Press.

13
Thank You For Your Attention!

Questions?

Peter Kraker
Know-Center
Inffeldgasse 13
8010 Graz
Austria
pkraker@know-center.at
http://twitter.com/PeterKraker
http://science20.wordpress.com

14

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Introduction to Altmetrics

  • 3. “One of the diseases of this age is the multiplicity of books; they doth so overcharge the world that it is not able to digest the abundance of idle matter that is every day hatched and brought forth into the world.“ Attributed to Barnaby Rich in 1613 (Price 1963) 3 @PeterKraker
  • 4. Information Overload in Science Information overload is NOT a contemporary problem in science Science has been growing exponentially for the last 400 years (Price 1961, 1963) Number of papers (Larsen/von Ins 2010) Number of researchers (NSB 2010) Instruments to deal with the overload Journals and conferences Peer review 4 Quantitative measures Price (1963)
  • 5. Pathways through Science Science Citation Index (Garfield 1955)  Web of Science An index of incoming citations Purpose Discovery of literature that is not linked thematically Increased collaboration between researchers Evaluation of science 5 Garfield (1964)
  • 7. Criticisms of Citation-based Metrics Citations take very long to appear in meaningful quantities Metrics are dependent on the corpus that is used for calculation A single indicator is not sufficient to assess impact 7
  • 8. Setting the Stage for Alternative Metrics Increased use of online services in the scientific community E-Journals and pre-print/data archives Collaborative reference management systems (Micro-)blogs & social networks Seeing academic literature through the eyes of the readers (Rowlands & Nicholas 2007) Usage data (downloads, readership) Links, likes and shares 8
  • 9. Altmetrics Altmetrics: alternative metrics based on data generated in online systems Promises of altmetrics Assess publications quicker and on a broader scale Consider all outputs of research The altmetrics manifesto: http://altmetrics.org 9
  • 10. Examples for Altmetrics PLOS Article-level Metrics Altmetric.com ImpactStory 10
  • 11. Problems of Altmetrics Intention unknown: What does it mean to download/save/tweet a paper? What does it mean to aggregate these numbers? Altmetrics are prone to sample biases (Bollen & van de Sompel 2008, Kraker et al. 2013)  There is a need for a better understanding of altmetrics  Altmetrics data needs to be open and reproducible 11
  • 12. The Untapped Potential: Altmetrics for Discovery 12 Bollen et al. (2009) http://labs.mendeley.com/headstart
  • 13. References Bollen, J., & Sompel, H. Van De. (2008). Usage Impact Factor  The : Effects of Sample Characteristics on Usage-Based Impact Metrics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 59(1998), 136–149. Kraker, P., Jack, K., Schlögl, C., Trattner, C., & Lindstaedt, S. (2013). Head Start: Improving Academic Literature Search with Overview Visualizations based on Readership Statistics. In Web Science 2013. National Science Board. (2010). Science and Engineering Labor Force. Science and Engineering Indicators (Vol. 22 Suppl 1). National Science Foundation. Larsen, P. O., & von Ins, M. (2010). The rate of growth in scientific publication and the decline in coverage provided by Science Citation Index. Scientometrics, 84(3), 575–603. Price, D.(1961). Science since Babylon. Yale University Press. Price, D. (1963). Little science, big science. Columbia Univ. Press. 13
  • 14. Thank You For Your Attention! Questions? Peter Kraker Know-Center Inffeldgasse 13 8010 Graz Austria pkraker@know-center.at http://twitter.com/PeterKraker http://science20.wordpress.com 14