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Counting on it

It’s a new frontier in Metric land! New buzz is the “Alt” or “all” metrics products and I am totally excited about these possibilities.

Traditionally libraries and researchers track citation citations (that is, how often is my article cited by others) but this process can take years to come into its own. By the time an author puts together an article, finds a publisher, gets published then others read the article and write their own … it can be two or three years. Pre-publication and open source are helping but still, it takes time.  We live in a “NOW” society, we no longer have that time luxury.

Tweets, blogs, likes – these are our new frontier in seeing who is talking about what (or, as kids today say, ‘trending’). New products are springing up to track this information. There are plenty of products that track hits on your website or tell how about re-tweets but only a few that actually accumulate that information and focus to a particular person, article, paper, etc. Both Altmetric and Plum Analytics* do this – and both are pretty cool.

Publishers are also looking at this but not always including social media. Products like Elsevier’s newly (a year) purchased SciVal and the upgrade Pure provide great analysis but are limited in their purview. Scientific databases are where many researchers live but to really see the impact of your work you need to look at social media. Tweeting and Facebook/Instagram are not just for the kids. Many institutions have accounts and are actively promoting on each. They are pushing information out and a true measure includes these access points.

Information is not just in the research realm. It is not just “gee Dr. A wrote a great paper, I should write a paper too and cite his”. It is being used in more than just citation creation. Everyone talks about it…and tweets, blogs and likes it. Why wouldn’t you want to know who was talking about your life’s work? And where they are. And what they did. And who re-tweeted that message.

*full disclosure, I work for the company that owns Plum Analytics, but I’m pretty sure I’d be impressed without that connection.

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