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Bibliometrics and Altmetrics: Measuring the Impact of Knowledge

Bibliometrics and Altmetrics

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of alternative ways faculty at the University of Baltimore can measure the impact of their research, scholarship and creative activities.  Because each academic department within the University of Baltimore will have its own unique elements to consider when measuring impact, this document cannot make any specific recommendations about any which measure(s) of impact to consider.  Instead, it will offer resources that might help to think broadly about impact, provide suggestions for alternative impact measures and hopefully enable members of the University of Baltimore community to find combinations of approaches that provide the best view measuring impact in a variety of different situations.

Measuring Research Impact

The traditional way of measuring the impact of an article or journal has been to look at the times it has been cited.  There has been a growing consensus that citation analysis by itself is an inadequate way to measure impact.  The reasons for this are varied, and include

  • Journals in different disciplines have different citation patterns:
    • Makes it hard to compare across disciplines
    • Articles that could have cross disciplinary appeal are often under-cited
  • Members of different disciplines have differing expectations for the types of intellectual output from their members
  • Research can have impact beyond citations.  i.e. it could influence policy, be used in teaching, etc.
  • Articles in scholarly publications are not the only forms of intellectual output that faculty can produce. Examples include datasets, creative works, etc.  (Priem, Groth and Taraborelli, 2012).                                                           

In response to this, a number of alternative metrics or altmetrics have been proposed.  By themselves, none of the altmetrics are intended to replace the traditional citation analysis.  However, when considered a part of a set of ways one can look at measuring impact, looking at impact more broadly may be able to capture a more accurate representation of the contributions made by a specific work, person, journal or institution. (Roemer and Borchardt, 2015).                                                     

 

Works Cited:

Priem, J., Groth, P., & Taraborelli, D. (2012). The Altmetrics Collection. PLoS ONE7(11), e48753. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048753

Roemer, R. C., & Borchardt, R. (2015). Meaningful metrics : a 21st century librarian's guide to bibliometrics, altmetrics, and research impact. Chicago : Association of College and Research Libraries.

Credits:
This content of this guide was largely taken from the University of Maryland's guide: Bibliometrics and Altmetrics: Measuring the Impact of Knowledge