The concept of Article-Level Metrics, or Altmetrics, is a hot topic in the world of Scholarly Communications. Academics are looking for better ways to measure scholarship impact.
Altmetrics doesn’t just look at one data point to determine the reach of a scholarly article. It looks at many data points, especially in socially media, then uses algorithms to expand our understanding of impact as well as what is making the impact. Because research comes in many different forms these days (datasets, code, experimental designs, and the traditional article) and because researchers communicate about research in multiple ways (via Twitter, blogs, personal websites, etc.) it makes sense to have a tool that looks at all of this when determining impact. The days of simply counting citations or journal subscriptions no longer presents the entire picture.
Altmetrics are much faster than traditional systems. Consider the length of time it takes for two reviewers to read over and provide feedback on one journal article. Altmetrics, using Application Programming Interface (API), can respond in days with data that includes comments, chatter, and posts showing what colleagues think of each other’s work.
For more information about Altmetrics, visit the following sites, or view a couple of the videos listed below for more in-depth explanations.
Info from SPARC about altmetrics
Much referenced Altmetrics manifesto
PLOS ONE article on altmetrics
YouTube Video by Jason Priem on altmetrics