The University of North Carolina Scholarly Communications Working Group

January 2011 Topic

December 16th, 2010 · No Comments

Measuring More, Publishing More: Alt-metrics and Data Publishing

When:  12:00-1:00 pm, Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Where: Davis Library, Room 214

The scholarly ecosystem is changing.  Scholars are producing a wider range of products than ever before:  research projects now produce not only journal and conference publications but also published datasets, source code, blog posts, and educational resources. These research products are new vectors of impact complementing traditional articles, and deserve to be assessed and measured in their own right.

Scholars and others increasingly interact with these outputs across a diverse online ecosystem;  this includes bookmarking services like Mendeley and CiteULike, social media like Twitter and Facebook, blogs, and on-article comments. These interactions can be tracked and used to inform new, faster, and broader metrics of impact.

These changes suggest that we reconsider how we measure scholarly impact to go both beyond the traditional article publication and beyond the traditional citation metric.  The UNC Scholarly Communications Working Group meeting will kick off 2011 with a panel addressing alt-metrics and data publishing.

Costello and Priem will discuss alt-metrics, specifically in the context of Twitter citations and article-level metrics at the Public Library of Science.  Piwowar will follow, summarizing the opportunities and challenges in tracking dataset reuse.  Presentations will be followed by an open discussion on how altmetrics and diverse research products will change assessment of scholarly impact.

Biographical notes:

Kaitlin Costello is a second-year doctoral student at UNC-SILS and the project manager for the DigCCurr II grant. She has a bachelor’s degree in Film and Poetics from Vassar College, and also holds a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Kaitlin’s research is focused on personal health records and social networks. Her current interest is in how people use social networks for instrumental health support, particularly people looking for organ donors.

Heather Piwowar is a postdoctoral research associate with DataONE and the Dryad data repository at NESCent.  Heather studies the patterns with which scientists share and reuse research datasets to inform future efficient and effective use of data resources.  She has measured the citation benefit of publicly sharing research data, studied patterns in public deposition of datasets, and is currently investigating patterns of data reuse and the impact of journal data sharing policies. Heather has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from MIT in electrical engineering, 10 years of experience as a software engineer, and a PhD in Biomedical Informatics from the University of Pittsburgh.  She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Jason Priem is a doctoral student and 5-year Royster fellow studying Information Science.  He coined the term alt-metrics to describe broader, more timely measures of scientific impact built by tracking activity on the social Web, and is interested in studying and building prototypes to support this approach.  His recent alt-metrics publications include the alt-metrics manifesto, Scientometrics 2.0: Toward new metrics of scholarly impact on the social Web, and How and why scholars cite on Twitter.