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Measuring our scientific productivity

April 15, 2013

Measuring our scientific productivity

Alvin Hutchinson, the librarian in charge of the Smithsonian Research Online program and the STRI bibliography, recently shared new ways of measuring scientific impact via the internet

Alvin Hutchinson, the librarian in charge of the Smithsonian Research Online program and the STRI bibliography, recently shared new ways of measuring scientific impact via the internet.

Many STRI scientists are creating Google Scholar Profiles and are generating Google Scholar Metrics. They've also discovered its citation alerts feature, which sends an email notification each time a paper is cited.

Because an increasing number of scholars recognize the limitations of the traditional journal Impact Factor, some in the publishing and IT communities now champion alt-metrics or article-level metrics: sets of indicators beyond formal citations which measure the number of times a paper is downloaded or viewed; whether it is mentioned in blogs, Twitter, Wikipedia or online news; the number of times it is added to a bookmarking site such as bit.ly or the number of times a paper is “liked” (or +1, etc.) on social and reference sharing networks, etc.

Several publishers now include alternative metrics on their websites. PLoS One, ZooKeys/PhytoKeys and Nature, for example display metrics demonstrating readership and usage of papers.

STRI authors can sample article-level metrics by viewing their papers at the publisher's website and looking for links called either “metrics” or “impact” or something similar. Alternatively, authors can view metrics for a broad set of their publications by visiting the Impact Story website (http://impactstory.org/). Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this project allows users to paste a list of the digital codes (DOI) from their publications at the site and view some of the metrics described above. The site also accepts an exported reference list in the common BibTex format which Google Scholar Profiles can create. View a sample at: http://impactstory.org/collection/hvxwi7

More accurate measurement of usage and readership of our publications may lead to new tools for evaluating the impact of Smithsonian research.

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