The Social Side of Altmetrics

This post is contributed by Zohreh Zahedi of CWTS Leiden. 

The Social Side of Altmetrics session chaired by Madeleine Watson from Crossref included 3 talks:

The first talk was presented by Juan Alperin and Katherine Reilly from Simon Fraser University entitled “opportune indicators to narratives: conceptualizing altmetrics for social impact”. Juan criticized altmetrics as a measure of social impact due to lack of proper terminology and definition for something vague that we don’t know what it is exactly. He proposed definition of impact to three main types: epistemic (e.g., new knowledge is created, or someone’s understanding is changed), problem solving (e.g., progress is made towards a problem that needs to be solved), and accountability (e.g., an activity is legitimized). This allows understanding of how different indicators are needed depending on the type of impact being sought, and how the same indicator may mean very different things depending on the impact of interest. Some questions such as: How to analyze societal impact of research using social media? What does it mean in the context of metrics? What do they tell us about behaviours of users? Calling for community to help to narrow down and operationalize the definitions and to be determined about impact and define altmetrics.

The second presentation was on the topic of “Altmetrics for reputation analysis of Brazilian researchers” by Thaiane Oliveria from Federal Fluminese University. Thaiane discussed coverage of Brazilian journals in different citation databases and in Scielo and different policies including altmetrics beside using JCR as for research evaluation pointing out some difficulties and challenges such as Language, political and economic barriers in understanding the dynamics in this ecosystem to be considered before evaluation.

The third presentation entitled “How can we tell a different story? Challenges and opportunities for altmetrics outreach” by Ali Versluis, University of Guelph; Lillian Rigling, University of Western Ontario; Sarah Hare, Indiana University Bloomington. They discussed challenges and opportunities of introducing altmetrics in their university and reflected on some educational, technical, an cultural barriers regarding reactions of their community and how do they value altmetrics as a non-citation based metrics.