Are alternative metrics still alternative?

See on Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university


Editor’s Summary

Since the 1960s citation counts have been the standard for judging scholarly contributions and status, but growing awareness of the strategy’s limitations should lead to acceptance of alternative metrics. Citation analysis drawbacks include lack of timeliness, self citation and citations that are superfluous, negative and incomplete, and traditional counts reflect only a small fraction of actual usage. A better categorization of scholarly impact would cover usage, captures, mentions and social media in addition to citations. Metrics should include mentions in blogs and other nontraditional formats, open review forums, electronic book downloads, library circulation counts, bookmarks, tweets and more. Such alternative metrics provide a more complete view of peer response to scholarly writings and better demonstrate the relative position of a research grant applicant and potential for influential work. Altmetrics are readily available, and their value for evaluating scholarly work should be recognized.


The authors:” There is a temptation to see this new paradigm for measuring impact as a passing fad: interesting, but too early, or simply not serious with regard to scientific research. The question arises: Does the process for granting tenure need to be changed in order for these measures to be accepted? A better question is why a demonstrably sub-standard process whose faults and drawbacks are so well known has persisted for so long. The easy answer is that it is all we have had for five decades, but the truth is that decisionmakers want quantifiable data for making decisions. Promotion, hiring and grant funding processes will continue to evolve, but those changes will not be prerequisites for including more holistic measurements.”



Special Section: What, Why And Where?

You have full text access to this contentAre alternative metrics still alternative?Mike Buschman Co-Founders of Plum Analytics, Worked at Microsoft as a Librarian and Program Manager1,Andrea Michalek Co-Founders of Plum Analytics, Serial Entrepreneur with a Focus on Search and Information Retrieval Products2

DOI: 10.1002/bult.2013.1720390411

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Volume 39, Issue 4, pages 35–39, April/May 2013




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About Wilfred Mijnhardt
RMIMR is my virtual playground, a place to reflect on issues from my professional context, my job as Policy Director at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). RSM is the international university based business school at Erasmus University Rotterdam. More info here: Here is my list of relevant publications on the topic of my RMIMR weblog: The rss feed for my RMIMR collection is here: Here is my other weblog on impact of research:

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