Monday, March 16, 2015

Altmetric Explorer as a complement to your news reader for keeping up with exciting new research

Altmetric is one of several tools currently available to track the usage of published articles via social media, mainstream media, and reference managers. The Almetric score is calculated by giving different weights to each mention of a published article, so that a newspaper story counts more than a blog post, which is worth more than a tweet. The benefit of alternative metrics is that it can give researchers instant feedback on the impact of their article. Alternative metrics can also be used by publishers and editors to help determine what could be the next high impact story. Importantly, it is unclear whether Almetric scores correlate with citation rate. At this time, only 15-25% of papers receive any Almetric score, depending on the field.  

 Altmetric Explorer is a new tool from Altmetric for examining the impact of articles using a variety of search parameters. You can search all mentions of papers to see what the most popular stories may be at any given time. By creating workspaces for individual searches, you can have the results updated by email on a regular basis. You can export all the articles or export the Altmetric data to Excel, allowing you to sort for papers based on an individual metric (e.g., Mendeley or blog posts). Workspaces could include searches of a particular set of journals to see all the high-attention content in one space. Alternatively, a search with a keyword can indicate where the most attention-grabbing stories in a particular area are being published. 

Altmetric Explorer is easy to learn to use and the help desk has been very responsive, giving answers in 24 hours. This is a for-fee service, but as an Elsevier employee, I have free access to a publisher account. I started experimenting with Altmetric Explorer as a tool for content development. While it has not been helpful for that purpose, I have found it to be a nice complement to my news reader/RSS feed for finding new, interesting stories published in the journals that I normally follow.