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Women's Health Outreach Guide: Altmetrics

The Women’s Health LibGuide aims to provide information resources that offer support and a collaborative forum to learn more about women’s health issues from expert sources.

Library Resources

Find more information about altmetricsopen access, scholarly publishing, NIH Public Access Policy, and more on the Libguides from the Library's Research and Scholarly Communication Department.

The Becker Medical Library Model for Assessment of Research Impact

There are many traditional measures for quantifying research impact, such as a journal’s impact factor, or an h-index for authors. But there are other measures researchers can use to help document and highlight their impact in their field and profession. These can be important to be aware of and track, especially as a means to counteract the inadequacy and bias that can exist in traditional methods. One option that has been produced is the Bernard Becker Medical Library Project: The Becker Model of Research Impact out of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Regardless how a researcher wants to measure impact, of particular usefulness from this project is a list of indicators, updated regularly, that demonstrates the vast number of  different things that can  be used to document evidence of  biomedical research impact. Document all that you do to better promote yourself and your work. 

Why Altmetrics?

On the Research to Action website, Laura ffrench-Constant has compiled a list of the advantages of altmetrics for researchers:

  • Metrics can be added to a CV or used to enhance an online research platform/ collaboration site.
  • Altmetrics are a useful tool to track the social impact and the uptake of specific articles.
  • The geographical breakdown and profession of your readers can show the breadth of uptake beyond a specific field or discipline.
  • Social media statistics and bookmarks can show public engagement with research and even allow feedback.
  • It could be useful to scope out particular collaborators who are engaging with your research.
  • It allows better understanding of the research community and how it communicates, for example metrics include mentions by F1000 and pick up by academic blogs.
  • As well as assessing certain papers or individuals some sites allow research groups or departments to be evaluated as a whole.
  • What it doesn’t tell you is just as important as the metrics it does show; gaps should be used to improve future research dissemination strategies and achieve better social impact along with heightened research visibility.
  • Altmetrics should be used in parallel with impact factors and citation counts to add a more nuanced, qualitative side to impact.
  • They amass much quicker than citation counts, with results in days.