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Article metrics

Redefining impact – altmetrics now on journals from BMJ

21 Oct, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In growing numbers, scholars are moving their daily work to the Internet. Online reference managers, such as Zotero and Mendeley, have grown in popularity, the latter claiming to store over 470 million articles (substantially more than PubMed). In addition, as many as a third of scholars are on Twitter and a growing number cultivate scholarly blogs.

As a result of the increasing scholarly use of social tools like Twitter, Facebook and Mendeley, there is a need to track scholarly impact on the social web by creating new filters. The call for new metrics has been answered by a group of researchers who have dubbed the movement as  ‘altmetrics‘.

In support of this year’s theme for Open Access Week, ‘redefining impact’, BMJ has introduced the Altmetric widget across all articles published in BMJ’s portfolio of journals.*

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Metrics 2.0: who will be the ‘Google of altmetrics’?

14 Jun, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

At last week’s SSP conference in San Francisco, those of us interested in Altmetrics were rather excited to see representatives from each of the major products come together in a session entitled ‘Metrics 2.0: It’s about Time…..and People’.

First up was Andrea Michalek of Plum Analytics (who kindly shared her slides here). She revealed a sneak preview of work being done with the The Smithsonian, one of Plum’s first customers. Their product, PlumX, is being used to collect data (usage, captures, mentions, social media, citations) in order to generate reports on publication activity in support of research evaluation.

She explained how in scholarly communications, the same article can be published in multiple locations on the web (e.g. publisher website, PubMed Central, Mendeley). Fortunately, Plum collects and displays the counts from each of these individual locations, allowing users to get a full view of the engagement surrounding a particular article, video, presentation etc. Indeed, she stressed the importance of tracking the impact of all aspects of output, not just the article. She spoke of these ‘2nd level metrics’ and used the example of an author who blogs about his/her research. more…

Rubriq: the future of scientific peer review?

21 Feb, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Rubriq is a new startup attempting to reduce inefficiencies in publishing by providing peer review independent of journals. While others, such as Faculty of 1000, offer this with post-publication reviews, Rubriq focuses on pre-submission review. Rather than replacing peer review completely, Rubriq hopes to provide editors with initial insight, allowing them to reduce time to first decision or use it as a filter (by setting a threshold for a minimum score needed to submit). Rubriq see the R-Score (an overall score for the paper based on Quality of Research, Quality of Presentation, and Novelty and Interest) as a new article level metric.

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Article-level metrics: which service to choose?

26 Oct, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Article-level metrics (or ALMs) were a hot topic at this week’s HighWire publisher meeting in Washington. (Highwire hosts both the BMJ and its stable of 42 specialist journals). From SAGE to eLife, publishers seem sold on the benefits of displaying additional context to articles, thereby enabling readers to assess their impact. These statistics range from traditional indicators, such as usage statistics and citations, to alternative values (or altmetrics) like mentions on Twitter and in the mainstream media.

So, what services are available to bring this information together in one simple interface? There are quite a few contenders in this area, including Plum Analytics, PLoS Article-Level Metrics application, Science Card, CitedIn and ReaderMeter. One system in particular has received a good deal of attention in the past few weeks; ImpactStory, a relaunched version of total-impact. It’s a free, open-source webapp that’s been built with financial help from the Sloan Foundation (and others) “to help researchers uncover data-driven stories about their broader impacts”.

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Plum Analytics: a new player in the field of altmetrics?

28 Sep, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

The “publish or perish” model of the academic world has followed a similar pattern since the middle of the last century. It generally takes around seven years from the conception of an idea, to the publishing of a paper, to the point where a critical mass of citations are formally gathered around it.

“Clearly the world moves much, much faster than that now,” argues Andrea Michalek, co-founder of startup Plum Analytics, with researchers posting slides online about their work even before it’s published, and tweets mentioning those discussions and linking back to the content. “All this data exhaust is happening in advance of researchers’ getting those cited-by counts,” she says, and once a paper is published, the opportunities for online references to it grow.

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ResearchGate: an alternative to traditional publishing?

22 Aug, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

ResearchGate, a Q&A site that soon became known as ‘Facebook for scientists‘, has announced its intention to function as a publishing platform for scientific researchers and offer an alternative measure of reputation in that community.

Started in 2008 with few features, ResearchGate was reshaped with feedback from scientists and has attracted several million dollars in venture capital from some of the original investors of Twitter, eBay and Facebook. According to the website, more than 1.9 million scientists currently share papers, publish data and engage in discussions on its platform. Now an ‘RG Score’ has been designed to make those interactions visible and quantifiable.

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Mendeley: reducing the lag in research impact analysis

9 Aug, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Mendeley, the free reference manager and academic social network, has released an Institutional Edition for research and impact analysis and signed up a number of leading academic establishments along the way.

Announced on Monday, Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE) is a module developed to give librarians and heads of library insight into the way researchers work and use their library collection at document level. By offering the MIE to their end users, institutions can seemingly stimulate their productivity and gain real-time feedback on the usage of library content.

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A new species of lab website?

5 Jul, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In response to static, neglected lab websites that have become the norm, a Princeton scientist (Ethan O. Perlstein) has personally invested in the design of a site that will inspire fellow academics to openly share their research. In addition, with his academic appointment coming to an end, http://perlsteinlab.com/ is a great way to establish a personal brand.

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Total-Impact: tool for researchers combines traditional and alternative metrics

24 Feb, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

“As the volume of academic literature explodes, scholars rely on filters to select the most relevant and significant sources from the rest,” the altmetrics manifesto argues. “Unfortunately, scholarship’s three main filters for importance are failing.” Peer review “has served scholarship well” but has become slow and unwieldy and rewards conventional thinking. Citation-counting measures such as the h-index take too long to accumulate. And the impact factor of journals gets misapplied as a way to assess an individual researcher’s performance, which it wasn’t designed to do.

There are various tools that provide an easy interface for finding out readership metrics for a researcher. Until recently, none of these allowed users to choose what is included or enabled non-traditional artefacts to be combined with traditional ones. This is where Total-Impact, a new offering from the altmetric community, comes in. more…

‘Rate this article’ now live on JNNP, STI and BJSM

3 Feb, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

User rating is a very common feature of websites, whether for films, books, washing machines or blog posts. What these user rating systems allow is a quick and easy survey of a community opinion. Despite the obvious advantages to busy readers trying to get to grips with a vast amount of literature, this simple system hasn’t been much applied to scholarly papers. PLoS notably introduced their rating five star system back in 2007, which has had a mixed response from the publishing community.

We launched a very simple thumbs up/down rating system at the side of articles on BMJ Case Reports last year, akin to that used on YouTube and a number of news sites. The response from users has been very positive, with our most rated article boasting 441 likes. This new feature, which gives readers the opportunity to quickly and easily share their opinion on the quality and impact of a particular article, has now been rolled out to three other journals: JNNP, Sexually Transmitted Infections and the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

How do I rate an article?

To rate an article, you do not need to be logged into the site but you will only be given one vote to cast (this is controlled by inserting a cookie onto your computer). The voting buttons are visible in the box to the right-hand side of each article and also at the bottom after references (see below). Once you’ve voted, you can click on the ‘Tell us why you like/don’t like this article’ link to provide further information in the form of an e-letter. Each journal has a feed of the most rated articles, which can be used to populate widgets on the homepage and at the side of papers.

As a supplement to the basic peer review, article-level ratings offer real-time feedback from readers, allowing them to contribute publicly in the scholarly journal discussion. Over time, as the article accrues feedback, the combined scores will become more and more meaningful as a metric to evaluate importance and quality.

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