Altmetrics: an analysis of the state-of-the-art in measuring research impact on social media
Traditionally, scholarly impact and visibility have been measured by counting publications and citations in the scholarly literature. However, increasingly scholars are also visible on the Web, establishing presences in a growing variety of social ecosystems. But how wide and established is this presence, and how do measures of social Web impact relate to their more traditional counterparts? To answer this, we sampled 57 presenters from the 2010 Leiden STI Conference, gathering publication and citations counts as well as data from the presenters’ Web “footprints.” We found Web presence widespread and diverse: 84% of scholars had homepages, 70% were on LinkedIn, 23% had public Google Scholar profiles, and 16% were on Twitter. For sampled scholars’ publications, social reference manager bookmarks were compared to Scopus and Web of Science citations; we found that Mendeley covers more than 80% of sampled articles, and that Mendeley bookmarks are significantly correlated (r=.45) to Scopus citation counts. Introduction Traditionally, the measurement of authors’ impact or visibility is based on counting how often a particular author can be found in the reference lists of scientific publications. Information on the number of publications and citations of an author are published in citation databases such as Web of Science (WoS) or Scopus revealing how well an author is perceived in the scientific community. These reference-based databases differ in the number of analyzed publication sources with WoS having a smaller number of sources than Scopus (Moed & Visser, 2008). Citation counts are established in author evaluation but they reflect only half the truth: they just capture the author’s impact on other authors, i.e. people who also publish scientific texts in particular sources. The author’s impact on non-authors, i.e. pure readers, is missed in traditional citation counts (Haustein, 2012). Moreover, authors create “footprints” via profiles in social networks, homepages, or publication lists to make themselves and their work more visible. These 1 Judit Bar-Ilan and Hadas Shema were supported in this study by the FP-7 EU funded project ACUMEN on assessing Web indicators on research evaluation.