This month’s Ambassador of the Month is Shaun Evans, a journal manager at the Open Access publisher, Frontiers. In his application to be an Ambassador, Shaun described himself as “Passionate about Open Access, desperate to see an end to archaic metrics (impact factor, h-index), [and an] advocate for citizen science and citizen engagement in science.” We emailed Shaun to learn more about his role at Frontiers and how altmetrics, in his opinion, can help publishers and authors alike.
Tell me about your current work at Frontiers. What does a typical day involve for you?
A typical day at Frontiers is hard to pin down, it really depends on what comes up! Basically, I manage the Journal’s back office side. Most of this is assisting Authors, Editors and Reviewers with the peer review process, and ensuring the peer review process runs smoothly. I’m acting most the time as an intermediary between the Chief Editors, their Editorial Boards and their Journals’ publication process, striving to implement their vision for the Journal.
Where did you first learn of altmetrics?
I came across altmetrics first some time ago, I suppose before the term was coined, when article level metrics first started making waves in science. This was back when I was still a junior researcher (PhD). As a young researcher I remember the frustration at relying on impact data (citations) that took a time equivalent to (or a significant proportion of) my contract duration to appear!
How do you think altmetrics can help journal publishers?
Altmetric’s insight into the wider distribution of scientific work outside of the scientific community is a great boon to us as a publisher, helping us to see the societal impact of our open access publications. This in particular is a truly invaluable insight into the public’s hunger for scientific insights, and is both a source of pride and humbling for me to see the reach we are achieving!
How do you think altmetrics can help authors?
Altmetrics help authors evaluate their impact with indicators beyond the citation count. With all the information available, authors sometimes find figuring out their impact is overwhelming. They are under a lot of pressure to gather data from many angles such as dissemination, outreach / publicity, impact, prestige and more. Easing the burden of some of these tasks is at the forefront of our vision at Frontiers and collaborating with Altmetric, whose aggregation of the wider-dissemination of an article, definitely helps our authors. We organize a range of altmetric data, including Altmetric, at an article level and send out regular email updates to help them stay informed about their articles impact.
Interested in learning more about the Ambassadors program? Check out our website, where you can see where in the world our 200+ Ambassadors hail from (and more)! You can also follow #altambs on Twitter to track what our Ambassadors are up to, up-to-the-minute.