Skip to Main Content

Measure for Measure: Altmetrics (June 2017): Getting It Together—Reporting Tools

By Beth Juhl

Getting It Together—Reporting Tools

With the multitude of venues documenting research impact to choose from, one could easily devote so much time and energy to monitoring one’s scholarly reputation that there is no time left to actually publish research. Fortunately, several startups have stepped into the marketplace with services that aggregate different measures and provide reporting tools at the article, individual scholar, department, or organizational level. Publishers and content providers have licensed altmetrics reports as means to enrich their journal sites or database platforms. At institutions whose libraries license the Summon discovery service from Ex Libris or Elsevier’s Scopus, for example, users can observe the signature Altmetric donut. Those who have used EBSCO’s version of the nursing database CINAHL can witness Plum Analytics in action. These new ventures have quickly moved from nascent startups to valuable properties, with Altmetric becoming part of Macmillan’s Digital Science family in 2012, and as this essay goes to press in early 2017, Elsevier has acquired Plum Analytics from EBSCO after its three-year ownership.  “Rather than portending something amiss in the altmetrics space,” Todd Carpenter wrote in The Scholarly Kitchen, “this deal appears to signal a developing understanding of where altmetrics sit in academia and who is most interested in them and why.”  Carpenter suggests that the deal situates Plum Analytics more successfully in the suite of assessment tools and publishing integrations already offered by Elsevier, though he also voices concerns that this acquisition might lead to walling off altmetrics source data as publishers align with specific providers.