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Measure for Measure: Altmetrics (June 2017): Conclusion

By Beth Juhl

What's Next

Altmetrics clearly have not supplanted but instead have supplemented the Journal Impact Factor. However, merely replacing one contested number with a suite of metrics lacking context or nuance would only give campus administrators and research funders a new yardstick to misapply and misunderstand in the same old ways. The challenge for proponents and adopters of altmetrics is to work toward shared understanding of (and standards for) what to measure and precisely what the measurements mean. In addition to the NISO and Snowball Metrics initiatives mentioned above, it is encouraging to see organizations building a new open framework for metrics. The DOI registration agency Crossref, for example, expects to launch its Crossref Event Data service in 2017. This service will track DOIs as mentioned, shared, bookmarked, or discussed outside of the formal literature, beginning with Wikipedia, Facebook, F1000Prime, Twitter, and other sites. Such “event” statistics (which cover linking, bookmarking, commenting, social sharing—estimated to be more than 100,000 occurrences daily) will be freely available to individuals to process and interpret. This level of coordination is an important step in moving toward the interoperability and transparency that Euan Adie has called for, assuring that source data is auditable, open, and meaningful.1

1. Adie, “The Rise of Altmetrics,” 80.