by Robert Moorehead
In the same spirit as my last post in which I pleaded for sales of my book (well, the book in which I wrote a chapter), this post gets at the challenge of accurately measuring the impacts of our academic work. Inevitably, some statistical measure of our work gets created, reducing our professional lives to a series of numbers. But how accurate are those numbers? What do they measure? How can they reflect the quickly changing ways in which we’re sharing ideas? If we’re going to be reduced to numbers, how can we make sure that those numbers help us, rather than hinder us?
I read. A lot. Still I’m constantly amazed at how little of the massive amounts of information available to me I’m actually able to absorb. It is no surprise that this is an affliction shared by the research community. Scientific research is available for public consumption in ways that would have seemed unimaginable just a few short years ago and the sheer volume can be overwhelming.
“In growing numbers, scholars are integrating social media tools like blogs, Twitter, and Mendeley into their professional communications. The online, public nature of these tools exposes and reifies scholarly processes once hidden and ephemeral. Metrics based on this activities could inform broader, faster measures of impact, complementing traditional citation metrics.”
These alternative metrics, or altmetrics as they are commonly referred to, are increasingly gaining credence as a way to track the sphere of influence of social media in the scientific community. It…
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