The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

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Concurrent Session: Altmetrics and my career: real barriers or limitations of our minds?

18th April 2016

Co-chairs: Stacy Konkiel and Robin Champieux

As an emerging measure of research impact, altmetrics are still viewed with skepticism by some corners of the academy. Can altmetrics really uncover useful and high-quality research? How are scientists and humanists actually using altmetrics for professional advancement? How seriously will grant reviewers, tenure and promotion committees, and your colleagues take altmetrics? In this session, researchers will share their uncensored experiences using altmetrics to advance their careers: what worked, what didn't, and recommendations they have for others interested in using these and other emerging measures of research impact.

Using altmetrics to track open science activities 

Holly Bik

Center for Genomics & Systems Biology at New York University

Open science and open source software are laudable goals, but these activities are not typically rewarded or encouraged in the same manner as traditional scientific metrics (Nature/Science publications, citation counts, and H-indexes). However, engaging with open source products and activities can effectively advance your career and expand your professional network. Here, I will discuss how I have leveraged altmetrics to track the dissemination of software development projects and web-based scientific activities. 

Exploring the meaning of altmetrics

Stefanie Haustein

University of Montreal

The acts on which various altmetrics are based are quite heterogeneous: likes on Facebook, mentions on Twitter, saves on Mendeley, and expert recommendations on F1000 are acts that differ in terms of user community, engagement, motivation and audience. While the act of citing has been an essential part of the scholarly communication process since the beginning of modern science, it is unclear whether the acts leading to online events used for altmetrics are relevant in scholarly communication. While empirical studies have shown that most altmetrics correlate weakly with citations, conceptual discussions about their meaning are rare. For most of these new metrics it thus remains quite unclear what exactly they measure. This presentation aims to discuss the heterogeneity of altmetrics, potential biases and their effects on their use in the scientific evaluation and reward system.

Demonstrating impact as a practitioner-scholar

Heather Coates

IUPUI University Library

Librarians have a unique perspective on the scholarly ecosystem as authors, consumers, and stewards. This perspective, combined with our roles in collecting and curating information, enables librarians to identify changes in policy, practice, and technology that can improve the openness, transparency, and sustainability of the scholarly ecosystem. It also reveals opportunities for aligning institutional and professional incentives with these changes. I will share examples of evidence used in my promotion and tenure dossier to demonstrate how librarian practitioner-scholars can be both advocates and exemplars for the changes we want to see in open access, data, and educational resources.


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