By Egon Willighagen

Altmetrics are aimed at capturing the amount of attention a paper gets. The adoption has been significantly encouraged by services provided by, for example,, ImpactStory, and PlumX, which serve the same role as Google Scholar for traditional metrics. The traditional metrics cover formal citations from primary and secondary information sources (papers, reviews, books), while altmetrics capture a wider range of sources to measure the amount of attention, like bookmarks, comments in blogs, PubMed comments, review sites, etc. Personally, I value not the count, but the overview of this attention. This attention is roughly divided into views, discussions, saves, citations, and recommendations, though various tools use related terminologies. However, both traditional citation metrics and altmetrics do not sufficiently cover reuse: citations reflect attention, but a paper can be cited for many reasons. The citing paper may agree, disagree, confirm, refute, or just cite the paper because to reflect some authority. Reuse, however, captures impact more directly: software that implements a method, databases that contain findings from a paper. Therefore, altmetrics services should start using altmetrics data from such sources, to capture knowledge reuse. Technologically, this is a no-brainer, but some social barriers have to be taken first.


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Egon Willighagen



Published: 23 May, 2015

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