Communities of Impact; can communities of practice theory enhance the understanding of research impact; on TradMetrics and AltMetrics and tracking the signatures of these socia interactions

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

AbstractCommunities of Practice (CoP) are groups that “share a concern or a passion for something” and “learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger 2006). CoP studies reason that learning is an on-going social endeavour based upon the connections between people. One could consider a faculty, institution or an entire field, as a CoP. Scholarly publishing traditions, such as peer-review and citing prior work help ensure rigor and add value to scholarly literature in a way that is not seen to the same extent elsewhere in publishing. Impact is a frequently used term in research circles. Extrapolated impact predictions are a key factor in determining what research is funded, whereas retrospectively calculated impact metrics are a often used to measure the success of a particular researcher, or a research project. Unfortunately the term impact lacks clear definition. Furthermore impact metrics are often interpreted without a full understand of what is being interpreted. Through reviewing relevant literature, this paper positions itself to question whether the value of CoP should be represented in impact metrics, and whether the shortcomings of existing impact metrics can be mitigated by assessing impact in terms of CoP.



The authors:” The corpus of literature that discusses altmetrics gives a
compelling account of why an alternative view of metrics is necessary based on problems (with tradmetrics) and opportunities (the potential to exploit newly available data). Scholars have demonstrated how altmetrics work in practice. Altmetrics are inherently based upon socially relevant data, and indeed data that is usually generated through social interactions, but thus far implementations of altmetric compasses have failed to account for the value of stimulating or nurturing those interactions. Altmetrics
demonstrate that social interactions can be used as a measure of impact or influence, stemming from a particular piece of research. It does this through tracking the signatures of these social interactions. Whereas tradmetrics are structurally impotent in this regard, altmetrics fall short in terms of CoP in that they simply don’t attempt to account for the tacit value of the social interactions that they are measuring the signature of.



Communities of Impact
Joseph Lindley, HighWire DTC, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
April 2013
The master copy of this document can be annotated at



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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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