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“Attention is not impact” and other challenges for altmetrics

Altmetrics should be harnessed not to replace any existing metrics, but rather to expand the tools available to demonstrate the diffusion of science.” Cassidy Sugimoto, Assistant Professor, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University

In 2010, Jason Priem and his colleagues published the altmetrics manifesto in which they stated that “the growth of new, online scholarly tools allows us to make new filters; these altmetrics reflect the broad, rapid impact of scholarship in this burgeoning ecosystem. We call for more tools and research based on altmetrics.

The manifesto highlights the pitfalls of the existing systems of: peer review; citation counting; and the Journal Impact Factor. In response to the issues that are highlighted, altmetrics calls for an expansion of what is considered to be impact and points to how altmetrics can enhance current systems of measuring scholarly impact.

Professor Sugimoto in her guest post on the Wiley exchanges blog in turn considers the pitfalls of altmetrics and suggests that the current altmetrics, high in its ambition, does not fully take into account the full diversity of academic activity. Sugimoto ends the post in the same sentiment as the altmetrics manifesto in that these new metrics should complement and not serve to replace the traditional measures of scholarly impact.

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