Networking and altmetrics

Peer-reviewed journals and conferences have traditionally been the focus of researchers’ efforts to make their research visible. However, as social media becomes more prevalent, the way academics disseminate their research is changing. Academics are increasingly using social media, and are expected to have a professional online presence.

In the last decade there has been an emergence of Academic Social Networking Sites (ASNSs). Each site offers its own combination of tools and capabilities to support research activities, communication, collaboration, and networking. However, due to their variety, it might be challenging for academics to evaluate and use them. Also maintaining multiple profiles might be time-consuming. Thus, during this course, we hope you can find a social network site / sites suitable for your needs.

Traditional measurements of academic success, such as citation counts, journal impact factor or author h-index (i.e. bibliometric indicators), will no longer be sufficient to estimate research impact, and the social importance of authors is becoming increasingly significant. Altmetrics (i.e. alternative metrics) measures a publication’s online visibility by the numbers of, for instance, clicks, downloads, blog posts, bookmarks, likes and tweets. Since most research, including journal articles, are now electronic and networked we can track how many times they are accessed, used, and shared. Altmetrics are meant to compliment, not totally replace, the traditional measures to give a more complete picture of how research and scholarship is used.

Altmetrics can answer questions such as:

  • How many times was my article downloaded?
  • Who is reading my work? (on Mendeley, bookmarking sites, etc.)
  • Was it covered by any news agencies?
  • Are other researchers commenting on it?
  • How many times was it shared or liked? (on Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Altmetrics data accumulate at a faster speed compared to traditional metrics. In disciplines where citations grow slowly, or in the context of new researchers, this speed helps determine which outputs are gaining online attention. Although altmetrics are often thought of as metrics about articles, they can be applied to people, journals, books, data sets, presentations, videos, source code repositories, web pages, etc. Altmetrics generally offer a faster and wider-ranging measures of how people are discussing and using your work.

As an example, Research Unit for the Sociology of Education (RUSE) in University of Turku has published the that shows the top 5% of Finnish research, as measured by altmetrics. This portal was made in RUSE’s project Measuring the Societal Impact of Open Science that has got financing from Ministry of Education and Culture.

Altmetrics can point researchers to interesting and more valuable research that has received most attention from other researchers and from the general public. Also, altmetrics can inform funders, policymakers and other stakeholders of the wider impact of research and give a more nuanced understanding of the impact research has made. See the top 5% of Finnish scientific articles of your discipline measured as altmetrics via FImpact.

Search an article of your research area, which has received attention in social media. Use databases such as Scopus and Ebsco (e.g. CINAHL, SocINDEX) for searching. What kind of media attention the article has received? Has the article received some other kind of attention (e.g. citations, views)?

Further information:

UEF Research & Researcher Visibility Afternoon (28.5.2018), see e.g. Alicia Gomez Sanchez: How to improve your visibility and your impact?

Davies, S. & Horst, M. 2016. Science communication: culture, identity and citizenship. London, Palgrave Macmillan.

Espinoza Vasquez, F. K. & Caicedo Bastidas, C. E. 2015. Academic Social Networking Sites: A Comparative Analysis of Their Services and Tools. IDEALS, iConference 2015 Proceedings.

Karvonen, E. et al. 2014. Julkaise tai tuhoudu: johdatus tieteelliseen viestintään. Tampere, Vastapaino.

Poutanen, P. 2014. Osallistu tai kuole: onko asiantuntijan mentävä verkkoon? Onnistuneen viestinnän jäljillä -blogi. (in Finnish)

Video (2:33): The Scopus Article Metrics module: Pinpointing the best articles to read, fast.

Video (1:11:34): Practical uses of altmetrics: A library journal webinar.

(12/2019 KH)