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Altmetrics and Societal Impact

Altmetrics and Societal Impact

What is the societal impact of scholarly research?


As the communication of research increasingly takes place on social media and other online platforms, there is enormous potential to capture and analyze digital traces left by scholars. This offers, for the first time, the opportunity to study at large scale—using both quantitative and qualitative methods—the processes of knowledge dissemination and co-creation between academia and the public.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, this project uses a variety of innovative new approaches to explore the societal impact of research. Drawing on data from a diverse array of digital platforms, we are investigating questions such as: Who shares academic work on social media? What can Altmetrics tell us about the public's use of research? How might scholars use this knowledge to inform their dissemination strategies? And what information is missing from the picture?

Related Publications

Alperin, J. P., Stranack, K., & Garnett, A. (2016). On the peripheries of scholarly infrastructure: A look at the journals using Open Journal Systems. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators. 21st International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators, Valencia, Spain. http://summit.sfu.ca/item/16763 Download
Alperin, J. P., Hanson, E. W., Shores, K., & Haustein, S. (2017). Twitter bot surveys: a discrete choice experiment to increase response rates. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Social Media & Society, 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1145/3097286.3097313
Toupin, R., & Haustein, S. (2018). A climate of sharing: Who are the users engaging with climate research on Twitter? Altmetrics18 Workshop, 5th Altmetrics Conference, London, UK. https://figshare.com/articles/Altmetrics18_Toupin_Haustein/7166393
Didegah, F., & Thelwall, M. (2018). Co-saved, co-tweeted, and co-cited networks. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 69(8). https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24028
Zahedi, Z., & Haustein, S. (2018). On the relationships between bibliographic characteristics of scientific documents and citation and Mendeley readership counts: A large-scale analysis of Web of Science publications. Journal of Informetrics, 12(1), 191–202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2017.12.005
Barata, G., Shores, K., & Alperin, J. P. (2018). Local chatter or international buzz? Language differences on posts about Zika research on Twitter and Facebook. PLOS ONE, 13(1), e0190482. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190482 Download
Barata, G., Araujo, R. F., Alperin, J. P., & Rodríguez, C. T. (2018). O uso de mídias sociais por acadêmicos Brasileiros. Encontro Brasileiro de Bibliometria e Cientometria, 209–217. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.9933884.v1
Enkhbayar, A., & Alperin, J. P. (2018). Challenges of capturing engagement on Facebook for Altmetrics. STI 2018 Conference Proceedings, 1460–1469. http://arxiv.org/abs/1809.01194
Didegah, F., Ghaseminik, Z., & Alperin, J. P. (2018). Using a diabetes discussion forum and Wikipedia to detect the alignment of public interests and the research literature. BioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/496927 Download
Haustein, S. (2019). Scholarly Twitter metrics. In W. Glänzel, H. F. Moed, U. Schmoch, & M. Thelwall (Eds.), Springer Handbook of Science and Technology Indicators (pp. 729–760). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02511-3_28 Download
Barata, G. (2019). More relevant alternative metrics for Latin America. Transinformação, 31, e190031. https://doi.org/10.1590/2318-0889201931e190031 Download
Costas, R., Zahedi, Z., & Alperin, J. P. (2019). Global country-level patterns of Mendeley readership performance compared to citation performance: Does Mendeley provide a different picture on the impact of scientific publications across countries? ISSI Conference, Rome, Italy.
Alperin, J. P., Gomez, C. J., & Haustein, S. (2019). Identifying diffusion patterns of research articles on Twitter: A case study of online engagement with open access articles. Public Understanding of Science, 28(1), 2–18. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662518761733
Maggio, L. A., Ratcliff, C. L., Krakow, M., Moorhead, L. L., Enkhbayar, A., & Alperin, J. P. (2019). Making headlines: An analysis of US government-funded cancer research mentioned in online media. BMJ Open, 9(2), e025783. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025783 Download
Didegah, A., Didegah, F., & Dehdarirad, T. (2019, September 2). Social media visibility of open access versus non-open access articles: A case study of Life Sciences & Biomedicine. ISSI Conference, Rome, Italy.
Rode, S. D. M., & Barata, G. (2019). Ciência brasileira: Impactos para muito além do Fator de Impacto. Revista Pesquisa Em Fisioterapia, 9(4), 444. https://doi.org/10.17267/2238-2704rpf.v9i4.2609
Matthias, L., Fleerackers, A., & Alperin, J. P. (2020). Framing science: How opioid research is presented in online news media. Frontiers in Communication, 5(64). https://doi.org/10.3389/fcomm.2020.00064 Download
Moscrop, D., Wong, L., & Alperin, J. P. (2020). Have you seen this? Why political pundits share scholarly research on social media. Scholarly and Research Communication, 11(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.22230/src.2020v11n1a355 Download
Enkhbayar, A., Haustein, S., Barata, G., & Alperin, J. P. (2020). How much research shared on Facebook happens outside of public pages and groups? A comparison of public and private online activity around PLOS ONE papers. Quantitative Science Studies, 1(2), 749–770. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00044 Download
Barata, G., & Manica, D. (2020, November 6). Stem-cells from menstrual blood in Twitter: Paper attention on social media. The 2020 Altmetrics Workshop: The Future is Now, Virtual. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Stem-cells-from-menstrual-blood-in-Twitter%3A-paper-Barata-Manica/08a060e69e4d340c2f291ebbb7c307fb13032006 Download Download
De Oliveira, T. M., Barata, G., & Uribe-Tirado, A. (2021). Ten years of Altmetrics: a review of Latin America contributions. Journal of Scientometric Research, 10(1s), s102–s114. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5530/jscires.10.1s.26
Rozemblum, C., Alperin, J. P., & Unzurrunzaga, C. (2021). Las limitaciones de Scopus como fuente de indicadores: Buscando una visibilidad integral para revistas argentinas en ciencias sociales. e-Ciencias de la Información, 11(2). https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.15517/eci.v11i2.44300 Download
Maggio, L. A., Haustein, S., Costello, J. A., Driessen, E. W., & Artino Jr, A. R. (2022). Joining the meta-research movement: A bibliometric case study of the journal Perspectives on Medical Education. Perspectives on Medical Education, 11(3), 127–136. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40037-022-00717-9 Download
Alperin, J. P., Fleerackers, A., Riedlinger, M., & Haustein, S. (2023). Second-order citations in altmetrics: a case study analyzing the audiences of COVID-19 research in the news and on social media. bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.04.05.535734 Download

Altmetrics

Altmetrics

How do we engage with scholarly research? 


Engagement on Facebook

Asura Enkhbayar, Juan Pablo Alperin

Today, more than 2.2 billion people use Facebook on a daily or almost daily basis. Yet despite its popularity, previous research shows that Facebook is less frequently used to share academic content than other platforms. Perhaps because surprisingly little is know about the nature of Facebook user engagement—especially when it comes to scholarly research. Are people discussing new studies in invite-only groups? Swapping papers in personal messages? Posting articles to private walls? 

In this study, we are investigating the current state of Altmetrics for Facebook to better understand how users communicate about scholarly research on this popular platform. Specifically, we are examining what forms of sharing might be overlooked by today’s Altmetrics methods, what the challenges are of measuring that engagement, and how the current system could be improved to capture those important avenues of communication.


From Mendeley Readership to Citations

Fereshteh Didegah, Juan Pablo Alperin, and Rodrigo Costas

With more than 3 million users in 180 countries, Mendeley has established itself as a major global research collaboration and networking program since its launch in 2009. Yet, despite its increasing popularity, relatively little is known about how academics engage with the platform on a daily basis. Who are Mendley’s users and how are they using its services?

This project aims to shed light on these questions by investigating one key Mendley product: the library. Starting with a pilot study, we analyzed the extent to which users cite the articles saved in their libraries by matching Mendeley user profiles with Scopus author profiles. We found that only 5% of them cited at least one of those articles, showing that the correlations found in previous research do not tell the full story. Now we are exploring the meaning of Mendeley saves further by expanding this pilot to a larger scale dataset across different subject domains.

Related Publications

Enkhbayar, A., & Alperin, J. P. (2018). Challenges of capturing engagement on Facebook for Altmetrics. STI 2018 Conference Proceedings, 1460–1469. http://arxiv.org/abs/1809.01194
Barata, G. (2019). More relevant alternative metrics for Latin America. Transinformação, 31, e190031. https://doi.org/10.1590/2318-0889201931e190031 Download
Costas, R., Zahedi, Z., & Alperin, J. P. (2019). Global country-level patterns of Mendeley readership performance compared to citation performance: Does Mendeley provide a different picture on the impact of scientific publications across countries? ISSI Conference, Rome, Italy.
Enkhbayar, A., Haustein, S., Barata, G., & Alperin, J. P. (2020). How much research shared on Facebook happens outside of public pages and groups? A comparison of public and private online activity around PLOS ONE papers. Quantitative Science Studies, 1(2), 749–770. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00044 Download
Alperin, J. P., Fleerackers, A., Riedlinger, M., & Haustein, S. (2023). Second-order citations in altmetrics: a case study analyzing the audiences of COVID-19 research in the news and on social media. bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.04.05.535734 Download