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Measure for Measure: Altmetrics (June 2017): Keeping Up—Current Developments

By Beth Juhl

Keeping Up—Current Developments

As in most developing fields, published research on altmetrics can mainly be found in the journal literature. A remarkable range of discipline-specific journals have offered articles addressing the potential and pitfalls of new metrics for researchers in particular fields of study, from Academic Emergency Medicine,1 to Nature,2 to the The Journal of Wildlife Management.3 The key research articles are found in journals addressed to practitioners and information professionals studying bibliometrics and scholarly communication. The Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology offers many timely studies of, for example, the correlation (or lack of correlation) of altmetrics scores and the Journal Impact Factor, or analysis of readership levels in various disciplines. The companion Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology has devoted a special issue to “Altmetrics: What, Why and Where?” Key journals Research Evaluation (Oxford) and Scientometrics (Springer) primarily address the sciences, while Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, an open-access journal published by the University of Alberta, offers practical advice for academic librarians, including a research-methods feature treating both bibliometrics and altmetrics.

But, as the altmetrics proselytizers themselves would observe, peer-reviewed journal literature isn’t able to keep up with the rapidly developing marketplace of new measures. Following the Twitter hashtag #altmetrics (note—not #altmetric, which belongs to a company that will be described below) all but guarantees a deluge of news, observation, and opinion. For exposure to more nuanced ruminations, try The Scholarly Kitchen blog from the Society for Scholarly Publishing. Featuring contributions from an impressive salon of authors, publishers, and librarians, this resource regularly serves up perceptive insights, particularly from Rick Anderson (Univ. of Utah), Todd Carpenter (NISO), and others who have viewed academic publishing from many angles. The site also offers an archived “Metrics and Altmetrics” collection, a regular podcast series that features Jason Priem interviewed by Stewart Wills (“Altmetrics, Today and Tomorrow”), and an “Ask the Chefs” roundtable discussion led by Ann Michaels on the role of social media in publishing. A number of commercial providers also host substantial blogs that go beyond mere marketing, including an Altmetric Blog at and the Plum Analytics Blog at Since 2014, The Altmetrics Conference has attracted scholars, publishers, librarians, and vendors who convene annually in various European cities—from the “1:am” first altmetrics meeting in London, “2:am” in Amsterdam, to “3:am” in Bucharest in 2016. Through the conference site, one can access blog posts, presentations, and streaming video of selected sessions.

1. Barbic, et al., “An Analysis of Altmetrics in Emergency Medicine.”

2.Science Metrics.”

3. Krausman, Bishop, and Ottogalli, “Promoting Research beyond Publication.”