“When You Use Social Media You Are Not Working”: Barriers for the Use of Metrics in Social Sciences

Authors: Lemke Steffen, Mehrazar Maryam, Mazarakis Athanasios, Peters Isabella

Abstract: The Social Sciences have long been struggling with quantitative forms of research assessment—insufficient coverage in prominent citation indices and overall lower citation counts than in STM subject areas have led to a widespread weariness regarding bibliometric evaluations among social scientists. Fueled by the rise of the social web, new hope is often placed on alternative metrics that measure the attention scholarly publications receive online, in particular on social media. But almost a decade after the coining of the term “altmetrics” for this new group of indicators, the uptake of the concept in the Social Sciences still seems to be low. Just like with traditional bibliometric indicators, one central problem hindering the applicability of altmetrics for the Social Sciences is the low coverage of social science publications on the respective data sources—which in the case of altmetrics are the various social media platforms on which interactions with scientific outputs can be measured. Another reason is that social scientists have strong opinions about the usefulness of metrics for research evaluation which may hinder broad acceptance of altmetrics too. We conducted qualitative interviews and online surveys with researchers to identify the concerns which inhibit the use of social media and the utilization of metrics for research evaluation in the Social Sciences. By analyzing the response data from the interviews in conjunction with the response data from the surveys, we identify the key concerns that inhibit social scientists from (1) applying social media for professional purposes and (2) making use of the wide array of metrics available. Our findings show that aspects of time consumption, privacy, dealing with information overload, and prevalent styles of communication are predominant concerns inhibiting Social Science researchers from using social media platforms for their work. Regarding indicators for research impact we identify a widespread lack of knowledge about existing metrics, their methodologies and meanings as a major hindrance for their uptake through social scientists. The results have implications for future developments of scholarly online tools and show that researchers could benefit considerably from additional formal training regarding the correct application and interpretation of metrics.V

Citation:   Lemke S, Mehrazar M, Mazarakis A and Peters I (2019) “When You Use Social Media You Are Not Working”: Barriers for the Use of Metrics in Social Sciences. Front. Res. Metr. Anal. 3:39. doi: 10.3389/frma.2018.00039

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Source: Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics

How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents?


Authors: Juan Pablo Alperin, Gustavo E. Fischman, Erin C. McKiernan, Carol Muñoz Nieves, Meredith T. Niles, Lesley Schimanski

Abstract: Much of the work of universities, even private institutions, has significant public dimensions. Faculty work in particular is often funded by public funds, is aimed at serving the public good, and is subject to public evaluation. To understand how the public dimensions of faculty work are valued, we analyzed review, tenure and promotion documents from a representative sample of 129 Canadian and American universities. We found terms and concepts related to public and community are mentioned in a large portion of documents, but mostly in ways that relate to service—an undervalued aspect of academic careers. Moreover, we find significant mentions of traditional research outputs and citation-based metrics. Such outputs and metrics reward faculty work targeted to academics, and mostly disregard the public dimensions. We conclude that institutions that want to live up to their public mission need to work towards systemic change in how faculty work is assessed and incentivized.

Citation: Alperin, J.P., Muñoz Nieves, C., Schimanski, L., Fischman, G.E., Niles, M.T. & McKiernan, E.C. (2018). How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents? Humanities Commons [preprint]. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6W950N35

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Source: Humanities Commons

Five principles for community altmetrics data


Author: Joe Wass

Abstract: These five principles are my answer to some of the difficulties and problems I have observed in the past couple of years. In that time I have been collecting the kind of data that altmetrics are built from, and talking and working with researchers. Altmetrics data is derived from the community. I think that community should continue to be at the heart of every step.

Citation: Wass, T. (2018). Five principles for community altmetrics data. Joe’s Blog. https://blog.afandian.com/2018/05/five-principles-altmetrics/

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Source: Joe’s Blog

Can We Count on Social Media Metrics? First Insights into the Active Scholarly Use of Social Media


Authors: Maryam Mehrazar, Christoph Carl Kling, Steffen Lemke, Athanasios Mazarakis, Isabella Peters

Abstract: Measuring research impact is important for ranking publications in academic search engines and for research evaluation. Social media metrics or altmetrics measure the impact of scientific work based on social media activity. Altmetrics are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics, e.g. allowing the assessment of new publications for which citations are not yet available. Despite the increasing importance of altmetrics, their characteristics are not well understood: Until now it has not been researched what kind of researchers are actively using which social media services and why – important questions for scientific impact prediction. Based on a survey among 3,430 scientists, we uncover previously unknown and significant differences between social media services: We identify services which attract young and experienced researchers, respectively, and detect differences in usage motivations. Our findings have direct implications for the future design of altmetrics for scientific impact prediction.

Citation: Mehrazar, M. et al., (2018). Can We Count on Social Media Metrics? First Insights into the Active Scholarly Use of Social Media. ArXiv. https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.02751.

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Source: ArXiv

Presença e reputação online de pesquisadores em redes sociais acadêmicas: implicações para a comunicação científica | Researchers’ social academic network profiles and online reputation


Authors: Ronaldo Ferreira de Araújo

Abstract:This paper reports the partial results of an exploratory research in progress that aims to investigate the phenomenon of online presence and reputation of researchers in academic social networks and its implications for scholarly communication. It discusses the theoretical and methodological aspects of its construction and presents preliminary data about the online presence of 822 researchers from the Federal University of Alagoas in the main academic networks: Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Mendeley and Zotero. Our results demonstrate that 63.9% of the researchers have a profile in at least one of the academic networks considered. ResearchGate (48.2%) and Academia.edu (39.3%) are well ahead of Mendeley (11.7%) and Zotero (0.5%). There seems to be a predilection for Exact and Earth Sciences researchers by ResearchGate and Applied Social Sciences by the AcademiaEdu. With the growing number of online communication channels available, it is essential for researchers to manage their online presence and reputation by integrating them into their scholarly communication practices.

Citation: Ronaldo Ferreira de Araújo (2017). ““Presença e reputação online de pesquisadores em redes sociais acadêmicas: implicações para a comunicação científica.” Pesquisa Brasileira em Ciência da Informação e Biblioteconomia, Vol. 12, issue: 2, pp.202-211. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5686444.v1.

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Source: Figshare

Altmetrics and Archives


Author: Elizabeth Joan Kelly

Abstract: Altmetrics are an alternative to traditional measurement of the impact of published resources. While altmetrics are primarily used by researchers and institutions to measure the impact of scholarly publications online, they can also be used by archives to measure the impact of their diverse online holdings, including digitized and born-digital collections, digital exhibits, repository websites, and online finding aids. Furthermore, altmetrics may fill a need for user engagement assessments for cultural heritage organizations. This article introduces the concept of altmetrics for archives and discusses barriers to adoption, best practices for collection, and potential further areas of study.

Citation: Kelly, Elizabeth Joan (2017) “Altmetrics and Archives,” Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies: Vol. 4 , Article 1. Available at: http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol4/iss1/1

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What do computer scientists tweet? Analyzing the link-sharing practice on Twitter


Authors: Marco Schmitt, Robert Jäschke

Abstract: Twitter communication has permeated every sphere of society. To highlight and share small pieces of information with possibly vast audiences or small circles of the interested has some value in almost any aspect of social life. But what is the value exactly for a scientific field? We perform a comprehensive study of computer scientists using Twitter and their tweeting behavior concerning the sharing of web links. Discerning the domains, hosts and individual web pages being tweeted and the differences between computer scientists and a Twitter sample enables us to look in depth at the Twitter-based information sharing practices of a scientific community. Additionally, we aim at providing a deeper understanding of the role and impact of altmetrics in computer science and give a glance at the publications mentioned on Twitter that are most relevant for the computer science community. Our results show a link sharing culture that concentrates more heavily on public and professional quality information than the Twitter sample does. The results also show a broad variety in linked sources and especially in linked publications with some publications clearly related to community-specific interests of computer scientists, while others with a strong relation to attention mechanisms in social media. This refers to the observation that Twitter is a hybrid form of social media between an information service and a social network service. Overall the computer scientists’ style of usage seems to be more on the information-oriented side and to some degree also on professional usage. Therefore, altmetrics are of considerable use in analyzing computer science.

Citation: Schmitt M, Jäschke R. (2017). What do computer scientists tweet? Analyzing the link-sharing practice on Twitter. PLOS ONE 12(6): e0179630. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179630

Data Availability: All data are available from the Zenodo repository (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.580587)

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Laying the Groundwork for a New Library Service: Scholar-Practitioner & Graduate Student Attitudes Toward Altmetrics and the Curation of Online Profiles


Authors: Kathleen Reed, Dana McFarland, Rosie Croft

Abstract: Objective – In order to inform a library service related to creating and maintaining online scholarly profiles, we sought to assess the knowledge base and needs of our academic communities. Participants were queried about use, issues, and attitudes toward scholarly profile and altmetric tools, as well as the role librarians could play in assisting with the curation of online reputation. Methods – Semi-structured interviews with 18 scholar-practitioners and 5 graduate students from two mid-sized universities.

Citation: Reed, K. McFarland, D. Croft, R. (2016). Laying the Groundwork for a New Library Service: Scholar-Practitioner & Graduate Student Attitudes Toward Altmetrics and the Curation of Online Profiles. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. 11(2) 87-96. http://dx.doi.org/10.18438/B8J047

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Geographic variation in social media metrics: an analysis of Latin American journal articles


Author: Juan Pablo Alperin

Abstract:
Purpose: This study aims to contribute to the understanding of how the potential of altmetrics varies around the world by measuring the percentage of articles with non-zero metrics (coverage) for articles published from a developing region (Latin America).

Design/methodology/approach: This study uses article metadata from a prominent Latin American journal portal, SciELO, and combines it with altmetrics data from Altmetric.com and with data collected by author-written scripts. The study is primarily descriptive, focusing on coverage levels disaggregated by year, country, subject area, and language.

Findings: Coverage levels for most of the social media sources studied was zero or negligible. Only three metrics had coverage levels above 2%—Mendeley, Twitter, and Facebook. Of these, Twitter showed the most significant differences with previous studies. Mendeley coverage levels reach those found by previous studies, but it takes up to two years longer for articles to be saved in the reference manager. For the most recent year, coverage was less than half than what was found in previous studies. The coverage levels of Facebook appear similar (around 3%) to that of previous studies.

Research limitations/implications: The Altmetric.com data used for some of the analyses was collected for a six month period. For other analyses, Altmetric.com data was only available for a single country (Brazil).

Originality/value: The results of this study have implications for the altmetrics research community and for any stakeholders interested in using altmetrics for evaluation. It suggests the need of careful sample selection when wishing to make generalizable claims about altmetrics.

Citation: Juan Pablo Alperin, (2015) “Geographic variation in social media metrics: an analysis of Latin American journal articles”, Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 67 Issue: 3, pp.289-304, doi: 10.1108/AJIM-12-2014-0176

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