I was fortunate enough to be invited to the PLOS altmetrics workshop held last week in Fort Mason as part of the rOpenSci team. For those of you that haven’t heard of the term altmetrics, it refers to alternative measures of scholarly impact beyond just citations which can take a very long time before being useful and may still not be such a good indicator of real impact. A recent news piece in Science as well as the original manifesto written by Jason, Paul, and Dario is also worth reading. Pedro Beltrao also posted a summary of the meeting.
We discussed a lot of challenges and approaches to using altmetrics, gaining wider adoption, and dealing with issues such as gaming, sentiment analysis, and context. Even though I am a strong supporter of the idea, I still struggle with these issues (as an academic) so I was happy to see some of the smartest people in this field tackle these ideas.
After two whole days of breakout groups, and idea development, we spent day three at the really cool PLOS HQ hacking together several of these ideas. I had a great time working with several others in the Alt Viz group (developing visualizations for article level metrics) where we brainstormed and implemented a few ideas for best ways to capture metrics for single articles over time and building snapshots of multiple articles. You can see some of our efforts here and here.
As far as rOpenSci’s contribution to ALMs, we briefly demo’ed our 3 altmetric packages: raltmet, rAltmetric (which incidentally became available on CRAN today), and rImpactStory. You can see slides from the demo here.