Let’s Face It, No One Can Read Everything

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 also serves to help sift the wheat from the chaff so to speak.  What is truly worth your time to read?  What are other like minded folks in your field reading?  What is the…


The new model is starting to look like this.


Publication in a peer-review journal is not the only way to effectively measure the impact of research, especially now with the push for open access and the quickly becoming outdated model of traditional publication.

Check out IU E-Science librarian Stacy Konkiel’ s great talk on the potential uses of alt-metrics in libraries.

Click through these slides from Heather’s Piwowar’s talk on altmetrics from ALA mid-winter.

And finally some recommended reading just in case you have lots of time on your hands…

-Good intro to ways in which altmetrics are being used and their potential impact


-Feel like you need a dissenting viewpoint?  Check out this editorial from Nature


Great article on using social media to explore scholarly impact, by the founders of  Impact Story


-Tools from PLOS to measure research impact


-Bibliography of articles on altmetrics from PLOS


-Article discussing the new guidelines for grant applications for NSF which asks a principal investigator to list his or her research “products” rather than “publications” in the biographical sketch section.


-Quick blog post on altmetrics as a discovery tool


7 thoughts on “Let’s Face It, No One Can Read Everything

  1. Pingback: Understanding altmetrics on Hack e-Science Librarianship | e-Science Community

  2. Thank you for sharing Stacy’s talk on altmetrics and these helpful links. They’re a great starting point for those trying to understand the impact of social media tools on scholarly communication.

    • Thank you for reading Ernesto! I think that the term “scientists” can be substituted with “academics”. There also seems to be a use for almetrics in other avenues such as the arts. I enjoyed reading your blog post. Librarians are good allies to court. 😉

  3. Pingback: Let's Face It, No One Can Read Everything | Edition critique et digital humanities | Scoop.it

  4. Reblogged this on JAPANsociology and commented:
    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?

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