Mining for gems: gathering research impact metrics with a DIY approach
Presentation given at the Medical Library Association Annual Conference, Toronto, ON. Presented on 05/15/2016.
Objective: Researchers are increasingly curious about the ways in which their scholarly outputs are represented in scholarly, social and mass media platforms. While many databases track citations and other scholarly metrics of impact (though their coverage differs), the options for tracking public consumption is often fragmented, and gaining a clear picture can be difficult. Methods: In this study we compare and contrast the metrics available to researchers, and how librarians can help them utilize specific resources in tracking these metrics. We discuss the complexity of gathering and maintaining these metrics. Additionally, to provide a deeper understanding of these metrics, we describe the processes by which free and subscription-based resources capture data. Lastly, we comment on strengths and common uses of these metrics, and the gaps in coverage. Results: We found the availability and quality of scholarly and alternative metrics varies depending on the resources available. Elsevier's Scopus, Thomson Reuters Web of Science, and Google Scholar are major sources of scholarly metrics, while alternative metrics are available through Altmetric, PlumX, Impactstory, and various scholarly social networking platforms. Each resource has different methods for aggregating data and making it available for librarians and researchers to use. Additionally, each metric has common uses and strengths that should be considered when determining metrics for specific contexts. Conclusions: Scholarly and alternative metrics are increasingly being used as a proxy to measure scientific quality, collaboration, innovation and impact. Librarians can help researchers find these metrics, and understand their common uses, while creating an awareness of how this data is captured, and made available for use. A solid understanding of the strengths, challenges and availability helps librarians and researchers be better consumers and users of these metrics.
presentation_location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada