Jun 2016 | 224pp

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A practical guide for librarians, researchers and academics

Edited by Andy Tattersall

This book gives an overview of altmetrics, its tools and how to implement them successfully to boost and measure research outputs.

New methods of scholarly communication and dissemination of information are having a huge impact on how academics and researchers build profiles and share research. This groundbreaking and highly practical guide looks at the role that library and information professionals can play in facilitating these new ways of working and demonstrating impact and influence.

Altmetrics focuses on research artefact level metrics that are not exclusive to traditional journal papers but also extend to book chapters, posters and data sets, among other items. This book explains the theory behind altmetrics, including how it came about, why it can help academics and where it sits amongst current measurements of impact.

Editor Andy Tattersall draws on the expertise of leading altmetric innovators and practitioners, with chapters from Euan Adie, the founder of Altmetric.com; William Gunn, the Head of Academic Outreach at Mendeley and Ben Showers, author of the bestselling Facet title Library Analytics and Metrics.

Readership: Altmetrics will empower library and information professionals working in higher education, researchers, academics and higher education leaders and strategists to develop the skills and knowledge needed to introduce and support altmetrics within their own institutions.

1. Introduction - Andy Tattersall 
2. Road map: From Web 2.0 to altmetrics - Andy Tattersall 
3. "Metrics of the trade": where have we come from? - Andrew Booth 
4. The evolution of library metrics - Ben Showers
5. The rise of altmetrics - Euan Adie 
6. Beyond bibliometrics: altmetrics reflects information about enagagement with more types of scholarly content from more types of consumers - William Gunn 
7. Considerations for implementing new technologies -  Andy Tattersall 
8. Resources and tools - Andy Tattersall 
9. The connected academic - implementing altmetrics within your organization - Andy Tattersall
10. Appmetrics - improving impact on the go - Claire Beecroft 
11. Open peer review - Andy Tattersall 
12. Conclusion - Andy Tattersall

'This book provides a very practical, informative,and even inspiring springboard for library professionals and scholars to begin or expand an exploration into the advantages and opportunities afforded by altmetrics.'
- Sarah Tusa, Lamar University, Serials Review

'Extremely timely...rather than focusing on the nitty-gritty and details of numbers and metrics, the book offers a very readable and accessible overview of the topic - why and how altmetrics have developed, a snapshot of what they look like today, and a glimpse of what we might see in the future.'
- Michelle Dalton, Libfocus

'Altmetrics: A Practical Guide for Librarians, Researchers and Academics is very welcome as it is one of very few textbooks revisiting the theory behind the growth of altmetrics, providing a comprehensive snapshot of what they look like today and demonstrating their value if applied in a meaningful manner. All in all, this is a worthwhile read, especially for any LIS professional interested in improving their understanding of altmetrics.'
- Nathalie Cornée, LSE Review of Books

'The targeted audience is library and information professionals doing altmetrics outreach to researchers, but the work is written to appeal to researchers and academics generally. A list of key points at the end of each chapter is particularly helpful for newcomers.'
- Michael Rodriguez, Library Journal

'The end of every chapter features “Key Points,” “Conclusions,” a “Reference List,” and “Further Reading,” making the text useful for reference purposes ... Overall, this readable book enables LIS professionals to help faculty and researchers understand the theoretical underpinnings of the development of altmetrics as well as navigate the variety of altmetrics technologies and tools. This book is recommended for academic and special librarians, information specialists, and graduate students pursuing an advanced degree in library science or information science.'
- Sarah H. Jeong, Wake Forest University, Technical Services Quarterly

'This book is a great addition to the literature on measuring scholarly productivity and is written by prominent experts in the field. This book is a practical step-by-step guide to boarding the altmetrics train and explores the new frontiers in scholarly communications metrics and public scholarship. It is an important addition to the conversation on scholarly metrics and opens a dialogue about other social media measurements through the many unanswered questions posed within the book.'
- Innocent Awasom,Texas Tech University Libraries, The Library Quarterly 

Andy Tattersall BA (Hons) MSc  FHEA is an Information Specialist at the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield.  He is also secretary of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Multimedia and Information Technology Committee and a Mendeley Advisor for the social reference management software company.



Euan Adie, founder and CEO of Altmetric.com

Claire Beecroft, university teacher/information specialist, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, UK

Andrew Booth, Reader in Evidence Based Information Practice, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, UK

William Gunn, Head of Academic Outreach for Mendeley

Ben Showers, Digital Delivery Manager at the Cabinet Office


1. Introduction – Andy Tattersall


2. Road map: from Web 2.0 to altmetrics – Andy Tattersall

Chapter 2 makes the connection between altmetrics and social media and explains how we have got to where we are and where it might take us. The web, and later Web 2.0 and social media, brought about the right ingredients for the development of platforms like Mendeley, Altmetric.com and Impactstory.


3. Metrics of the trade: where have we come from? – Andrew Booth

Chapter 3 is written by Andrew Booth from the University of Sheffield, who is no stranger to writing for Facet Publishing on topics relating to the library and information world. Andrew provides an interesting, entertaining and concise history of traditional metrics and their development, and the reasoning and politics that have grown up alongside them.


4. The evolution of library metrics – Ben Showers

As you will find by reading this book, altmetrics has a lot of potential not only for academics but also for fund holders, publishers and libraries. At a time when libraries are having to tighten their financial belts and cut their expenditure, altmetrics can provide some of the analytics to help tough decision making. In Chapter 4, Ben Showers, formerly of JISC, and who has previously written for Facet Publishing on analytics and metrics, covers the evolution of library metrics, including bibliometrics. Ben looks at what is happening in libraries right now and where the future seems to be pointing us to.


5. The rise of altmetrics – Euan Adie

Euan Adie, the founder of Altmetric.com, looks at the other side of the metrics fence and altmetrics as a whole, in Chapter 5. Euan’s chapter, as a sequel to Chapter 2 explaining the rise of Web 2.0 and social media, looks at the other pieces of the jigsaw and brings altmetrics firmly into the academic setting. The chapter explains the evolution of the several key players in the altmetric and academic publishing world that have tried to bring about a whole new way of looking at research outputs.


6. Beyond bibliometrics – William Gunn

Chapter 6 is by another author well versed in the area of altmetrics and its potential for the academic community. William Gunn is Head of Academic Outreach at Mendeley and he discusses the various ways in which Mendeley is looking at the data coming from the references that Mendeley users store in their accounts, and how this can form alternative metrics. He discusses the importance of discovering previously unseen data about published research and turning it into useful information. Previously, citations and the impact factors of journals were the means by which research was measured. William explains that these days everything from downloads, views and shares can be checked and counted and can give a new angle on academic quality. Although William is employed by Mendeley, this chapter is by no means a sales pitch for the research technology company (now owned by Elsevier), but gives a balanced view of where this arm of scholarly communication and measurement is going.


7. Considerations for implementing new technologies – Andy Tattersall

Chapter 7 gives practical advice to LIS professionals and academics on how they can employ altmetrics and the associated technologies in their organizations. The chapter provides a mixture of tactics and case studies that can be used to help make the most of new ideas and technologies, especially in the face of inertia and technology-platform overload.



8. Resources and tools – Andy Tattersall

Chapter 8 is about the great variety of altmetrics and related tools that can be used by LIS professionals and academics. One of the issues touched on in Chapter 7 is that of inertia and organizational change. Researchers and LIS professionals face not only the problem of technology choice but also that of understanding each technology and its application. It can be hugely time-consuming to explore new websites and technologies, especially when another, better solution can be just around the corner. The purpose of Chapter 8 is to give brief summaries of the technologies and the ideas behind them, and thus relieve LIS professionals of the job of exploring what is available. The list is by no means complete, as only a wiki or online bookmark could achieve that feat. The chapter also presents various scenarios to help readers make the connection between the technology and the use– in essence, the research pedagogy. The list is by no means exhaustive, as new tools are appearing every week and ,in a subjective manner, one tool may be seen in an altmetric context by one person but not by another. The chapter aims to demonstrate why, in this author’s opinion, each tool is worthy of note in the altmetric setting. Some tools are very niche, and others are purely transient in their use, in that you may use only them once to achieve a goal.


9. The connected academic: implementing altmetrics within your organization – Andy Tattersall

Chapter 9 investigates the increasingly important topic of post-publication peer review. Although it is not always associated as an altmetric and is still very new to most academics, post-publication review, anonymous or otherwise, remains a contentious topic in some domains of academia. The purpose of peer review is to measure and assess the quality of a piece of academic work.Post-publication review is the same, but happens after a paper has been published. Like altmetrics,its output is very similar, in that it gives new insights into a piece of published work. In addition,it provides opportunities for collaboration between authors as they start to discover other researchers who are engaged with similar ideas and work.


10. Appmetrics: improving impact on the go – Claire Beecroft

Chapter 10 is written by Claire Beecroft, from my department at the University of Sheffield, who looks of the opportunities that can be afforded by making better use of mobile or tablet devices. Altmetric tools have yet to appear in any kind of notable numbers on mobile devices, yet this is only a matter of time. On the other hand, online tools for sharing (such as Twitter)and writing(such as blogs)can now be easily accessed. Given that this book discusses the problems of information overload and time management, it is important for LIS professionals and researchers to discover how to make better use of their smart devices as part of a seamless altmetrics experience.


11. Open peer review – Andy Tattersall

The penultimate chapter is about the process of open peer review, an area that is increasingly being discussed within the academic community and has much similarity to altmetrics. Whether this process takes place before a piece of research is published, or afterwards, when a long tail of scholarly dialogue is opened up, it is, like altmetrics, a challenge to the status quo. The chapter discusses the pros and cons of open peer review and looks at some of the leading platforms, whether they be journals, databases or small thirdparty startups.


12. Conclusion – Andy Tattersall

The book concludes by reviewing the issues covered in the previous chapters and discussing whether altmetrics does have a future. It aims to predict– although in technology that’s a pretty tough call– whether, in time, altmetrics can gain wider appeal and traction. Since I was asked to write this book, back in 2013, a lot of things have changed. Altmetrics has shown no signs of going away, but neither has it replaced traditional metrics. I will discuss what that means for academia and whether, in my view, we will ever find an ideal solution to the problem we now face since the advent of the web and, more importantly, the social web.



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