Playing around with Altmetrics - Trial by Fire
What are "Almetrics?'
Well, in essence it's an alternative way to review the impact and spread of scholarly research, hence the term 'Altmetrics.' That being the case, I would do a disservice if I tried to go into to great of detail on where Altmetrics came from or how it competes against current standards, but I would recommend for the curious these papers or blog posts. However, what I will talk about is my personal exploration of using Altmetrics in my academic life.
I concentrated on two services based around altmetrics:
This service is a premium subscription based website that reviews, collates, and identifies the reach of your research with a primary emphasis on social media reach and how much the article is talked about. Beyond papers though, this service also incorporates items on Figshare, Github, ArXiv, and other data sharing services. The user then gets a personal page they can embed and share with collegues. Drawback of this service is the cost, at $10 a month or $60 annually. For the sake of this test, I did the free month service (which didn't require me to subscribe or drop my credit card at least). For me, the initial design of the website was rather plain, and I found it hard to create a portfolio and upload biographic content. The help portion was also not exactly forthcoming, and it seemed a bit of work in progress at times.
The other service is from Almetrics.com, which seems more vested for larger institutions (e.g. publishers, research groups) to track the spread of their published works. That being the case, the subscription prices are alot larger. However, there is a bookmarklet you can get from their website that is free to use to see the scores of papers online. This is what I used during my testing.
My Personal Results using Almetrics
In the case with ImpactStory, I integrated my Twitter and Google Scholar account, and then transfered in all my papers from PubMed using PMIDs. This then generated a list that told me how much my articles were disucussed or cited.
Clicking on an article would then bring up that paper and its affiliated information, it was then also possible to see where the paper was cited and its impact on social media.
In comparison to the data shared on ImpactStory, I looked at the data that Almetrics.com captured with their bookmarklet.
Clicking for more details on the paper brings the user to a page with all the data collated and with further details.
Final Thoughts on Altmetrics
Overall, using these websites and services was not to difficult, but where I had difficulty was the interpretation and usability of the data provided. There really is not way to export the data, and I would have no idea how to put this together for promotion. A table? Information next to each publication? Not to sure.
The second issue I had was the scoring system, some of that data just seems inflated, especially with the reach of Twitter and potential number of followers. However, it was interesting to see who was talking about my work though.
Would I use this in the future? Maybe, especially if I can figure out a way to present this data in a meaningful way.