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Tweet Your Pubs: How Altmetrics are Changing the Way We Measure Research Impact


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Presentation given to the Northern Alberta Health Libraries Association (NAHLA) Trends Mini Conference in Edmonton at the University of Alberta on May 2, 2014

Published in: Social Media, Business, Technology
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Tweet Your Pubs: How Altmetrics are Changing the Way We Measure Research Impact

  1. 1. Robin Featherstone, MLIS Research Librarian, Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta @rmfeatherstone Tweet your pubs: How altmetrics are changing the way we measure research impact @arche4evidence Spring 2014
  2. 2. Conflict of interest disclosure • I have had free access to the Explorer since September 2013
  3. 3. Image by Nik Papageorgiou:
  4. 4. Altmetrics… […] capture ways in which articles are disseminated throughout the expanding scholarly ecosystem, and reach beyond the scope of traditional trackers and filters. […] measure research impact by including references outside of traditional scholarly publishing. 3. Public Library of Science (PLOS). Altmetrics. [29 April 2014]. Available from 4. Baynes G. Scientometrics, bibliometrics, altmetrics: Some introductory advice for the lost and bemused. Insights. 2012;25(3):311-5. doi: 10.1629/2048-7754.25.3.311.
  5. 5. Altmetric tools measure • Tweets • Blog mentions • Facebook posts • Presentations • News articles • Shared citations (e.g., Mendeley, CiteULike) • Data uploads • Etc.
  6. 6. What’s your impact1? 1. Emerald Group Publishing. Impact of Research [11 April 2014]. Available from:
  7. 7. Agenda • Researcher & article case studies • Altmetric products • Measurable mentions & unique IDs • Gaming the system • Altmetric research • Altmetrics for biomedical and health sciences • Future directions
  8. 8. Researcher case study – Heather Piwowar • h-index: 8 – 23 articles cited 258 times
  9. 9. Researcher Case Study – Heather Piwowar • Slideshare followers: 85 • ImpactStory research products: 117 • Figshare views: 1384 • GitHub contributions: 1410 • Google Scholar h-index: 13 (51 publications cited 678 times) • ResearchGate score: 14.33 • Research Gate Impact Points: 50.29
  10. 10. Article Case Study – Marshall 2013 • Web of Science times cited: 1 • Google Scholar times cited: 21 • Scopus times cited: 6
  11. 11. Article Case Study – Marshall 2013 • Altmetric score: 76
  12. 12. Altmetrics Players
  13. 13. Measurable Mentions A. Great article in Oncology by Kotsori! B. Great article in Oncology by @akotsori - C. Great article in @oncologyjournal by @akotsori #breastcancer -
  14. 14. What is gaming? • Alice has a new paper out. She asks those grad students of hers who blog to write about it. • Alice has a new paper out. She believes that it contains important information for diabetes patients and so signs up to a ’100 retweets for $$$’ service. 5. Case examples from: Adie, E. Gaming Altmetrics. [29 April 2014]. Available from
  15. 15. Auto-spamming
  16. 16. Spectrum of social media self- promotion 6. Adie, E. Gaming Altmetrics. [29 April 2014]. Available from
  17. 17. Altmetrics research • PLOS Altmetrics Collection: • Many studies compared altmetrics with citation counts and Impact Factors • Positive but weak correlations found
  18. 18. Altmetrics in the health sciences • ‘Biomedical and health sciences’ showed highest share of publications with scores7 • Increasing numbers of PubMed citations were being tweeted8 2010 2.4% 2011 10.9% 2012 20.4% 7. Costas R, Zahedi Z, Wouters P. Do altmetrics correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective. arXiv preprint arXiv:14014321. 2014. 8. Haustein S, Peters I, Sugimoto CR, Thelwall M, Larivière V. Tweeting biomedicine: An analysis of tweets and citations in the biomedical literature. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 2013.
  19. 19. Social Media and health • Used for: – Health promotion9, 10 – Education11 – Communication and knowledge sharing12 9. Williams G, Hamm MP, Shulhan J, Vandermeer B, Hartling L. Social media interventions for diet and exercise behaviours: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2014;4(2). doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003926. 10. Hamm MP, Chisholm A, Shulhan J, Milne A, Scott SD, Given LM, et al. Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review. BMJ Open. 2013;3(5). doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002819. 11. Hamm MP, Klassen TP, Scott SD, Moher D, Hartling L. Education in Health Research Methodology: Use of a Wiki for Knowledge Translation. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(5):e64922. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064922. 12. Hamm MP, Chisholm A, Shulhan J, Milne A, Scott SD, Klassen TP, et al. Social media use by health care professionals and trainees: a scoping review. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 2013;88(9):1376-83. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829eb91c.
  20. 20. Rank Score Article Title Year Journal 1 1350 Early Television Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems in Children 2004 Pediatrics 2 558 Do Television and Electronic Games Predict Children’s Psychosocial Adjustment? Longitudinal Research Using the UK Millennium Cohort Study 2013 Archives of Disease in Childhood 3 521 Microbial Contamination of Human Milk Purchased via the Internet 2013 Pediatrics 4 457 Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial 2014 Pediatrics 5 383 Gun Violence Trends in Movies 2013 Pediatrics Using rankings – Pediatric Journals
  21. 21. Using rankings - ARCHE publications Rank Score Article Title Journal Notes 1 152 How confidence intervals become confusion intervals BMC Medical Research Methodology One of the highest ever scores in this journal (ranked #1 of 364) – article was mentioned by 219 tweeters 2 148 Lifestyle Interventions for Patients With and at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta- analysis Annals of Internal Medicine Among the highest ever scored in this journal (ranked #37 of 2470) – article was mentioned by 128 tweeters 3 122 Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review BMJ Open Among the highest ever scored in this journal (ranked #22 of 1501) – article was mentioned by 150 tweeters
  22. 22. Future Directions – Publisher-driven altmetrics
  23. 23. Future Directions – Product development • Increase transparency of self-promotion activites • Implement anti-spamming/anti-gaming software solutions
  24. 24. Future Directions – Standards development
  25. 25. Future Directions – Research • Is there a correlation between altmetrics rankings and… – full-text downloads? – qualitative measures of interest? – …
  26. 26. Future Directions - Assessment • Will be used by: – funding agencies – research centres – libraries – Knowledge Translation (KT) researchers
  27. 27. Future Directions
  28. 28. The Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Robin Featherstone, MLIS @rmfeatherstone Slides available: