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Scholarly Identity

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Monitoring

Curating an effective online scholarly identity can increase the visibility of your research and publications.

Why Monitor Scholarly Identity?

Monitoring your online professional presence can help you keep tabs on your impact within your discipline. Monitoring your scholarly identity on the Internet is simply a modern addition to traditional metrics that attempt to gauge scholarly output such as journal impact factor and article influence score. Boston College Libraries have a guide on these traditional metrics: Assessing Article and Author Influence. This page covers some newer influence monitoring methods.

Altmetrics: the concept vs. the company

Altmetrics: The Concept

"Altmetrics" is a combination of the words "alternative" and "metrics". It was created to measure the impact of scholarship in ways that are not part of the traditional measures used in academia. Altmetrics measure things like:

  • Page hits / article views
  • Downloads
  • Social media mentions
  • News mentions

As with any method of quantifying the quality or impact of a scholarly work, the actual relevance of the metrics are subject to debate. Nevertheless, Altmetrics, especially when used in combination with more traditional measures of article impact, can provide some insight into the impact of a work. They can be especially useful for early-career researchers whose work has not had the time to be cited in other articles.

Altmetric: The Company

Altmetric is a company that works to collect and provide altmetrics data for researchers, publishers, universities, and funders. While most of these products cost money, they do provide a free bookmarklet for individual researchers. This bookmarklet can provide information on blogs, tweets, Wikipedia citations, etc. that use links to the news article.

The bookmarket adds a small window in the top right corner of a browser that shows the altmetrics for that article:

Altmetric bookmarklet window listing how many social and news outlets have linked to the article

More Monitoring Services

Google Scholar searches across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations.

In addition to searching for articles on Google Scholar, researchers can use it to keep track of their citations, using the Google Scholar author profile. Researchers can also set alerts on Google Scholar to be informed whenever another researcher mentions them or a specific article they published in a work indexed into Scholar.

Publish or Perish is a free desktop software application created by Ann-Wil Harzing - Professor of International Management at Middlesex University, London. Publish or Perish provides various (mostly traditional) metrics for an individual researcher's publications. It does this by using information from Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search (the Bing version of Google Scholar). Publish or Perish claims to provide the following metrics (among others) for each author:

  • Total number of papers and total number of citations
  • Average citations per paper, citations per author, papers per author, and citations per year
  • Hirsch's h-index and related parameters
  • Egghe's g-index
  • The average annual increase in the individual h-index

This software can be a useful tool in keeping track of your output, especially during annual and tenure reviews. However, there is no guarantee that the metrics it presents are correct or full accountings of an article's impact.

Impactstory Profiles is a tool of the larger Impactstory.org non-profit organization that allows researchers to track altmetrics for their publications. Impactstory.org' is, "a nonprofit obsessed with making scholarly research more open, accessible, and reusable." As such, the Impactstory Profiles tool they have created is designed to positively highlight research that is Open Access. While metrics around Open Access are highlighted, it does provide excellent tracking of metrics for traditional, paywalled articles as well.

Impactstory Profiles requires either a Twitter account or ORCID to sign up and use the service. We encourage all researchers at Boston College to use their ORCID for Impactstory (or to sign up for an ORCID if you haven't already).

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