Alternative Metrics

Social metrics, modelling attribution for influential communication and discovering impactful statements on the World Wide Web (WWW)

Progress and impact of research have been extensively quantitatively studied by analysing scientific literature since the mid of the 20th century. As a result, bibliometric and scientometric indicators such as impact factor or h-index are now routinely used in many aspects of scholarly practice and research evaluation. However, these indicators are narrowly based on the attributes of research literature and cannot provide a broader perspective on the impact of research on public, governmental or business sectors. Furthermore, such indicators do not provide any perspective on research literature outside of those items normally indexed by services such as Web of Science or Scopus.

The notion of Alternative Metrics (also known as altmetrics), alternative measures of scholarly impact has achieved increasing recognition among scientists and researchers of scientometrics, the field dedicated to measuring science, technology and innovation. Alternative Metrics is an inclusive term designed to capture the diversity of non-traditional measures of scientific innovation and impact. At its core, is the concept that the Web has empowered scientific and scholarly knowledge to influence far beyond its traditionally core audience of scientists and researchers.

The collaboration between the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at the National University of Ireland, Galway and Elsevier will focus on developing new scientometric techniques – that is, techniques for measuring the progress, diffusion and impact of scientific and scholarly work. The Insight team will work on the development of an innovative platform for incorporating diverse sources of scientometric data; both traditional (e.g. bibliometric) and new (e.g. social media) to capture a comprehensive view of scientific practice and discourse as well as the diffusion of scientific impact across the Web and social media. It is hoped that this research will contribute towards a greater understanding of how scholarly work gains impact at all levels of society, and how conversations about science relate to the scholarly canon.