Altmetric Blog

Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact

Cat Williams, 24th February 2015

Can data emerging from media ‘mentions’ of research provide timely indicators of outcomes linked to social and technical innovation for stakeholders in networks beyond academia? This was the focus of a study released this week by the consultancy arm of Digital Science

coverThe study, funded and commissioned by Nesta, used Altmetric data to examine and identify how online mentions of research might offer insight into the broader impact of a piece of academic work.

Focussing particularly on outputs in medicine, the study acknowledges that there are professional, academic and social motivations for mentions, and recognizes that the challenge is to discern patterns and concentrations that capture these factors. The authors ask:

“Do mentions have innovative value in communicating impact beyond the academic world?”

They propose that there are two key types of communities who regularly engage with published research online, and the characteristics of each can be distinguished by their motivations:

Impact in communities of practice. Rapid and accessible communication of innovative research outcomes relevant to practitioners and professionalsin the health sector is also of value to research users and managers. We interviewed a range of experts but found no clear characteristics of research publications with economic, social or professional – rather than academic – impact. Analysis confirmed many motivations for research mentions and highlighted their communication potential,  but found no consistent view as to why some articles get mentioned frequently.

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Impact in communities of interest. Patients, carers and supporters of disease charities represent a network that wants to look at, understand and communicate research about new treatments. Statistical analysis showed more mentions were given to papers associated with diseases tackled by charities with larger research funds. Cardiovascular disease receives more attention than its charitable research spend suggests, however, whereas spend on Immune and Musculo-skeletal diseases is high but media mentions are relatively low.

The study observes that health and clinical networks can enable timely, rapid and ‘serious’ media communication of innovative research with non-academic social and professional stakeholder benefits, but they may need key people as active nodes to engage them.

Click here to access the full report online.

 

 

10 Responses to “Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact”

chiara rebuffi (@chiare81)
February 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact: http://t.co/obZ15wL8TY #altmetrics

BUVa Campus Delibes (@CampusMDelibes)
February 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact http://t.co/U1jBapE9rs

@DavidCarter52
February 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

how online mentions of research might offer insight into the broader impact of a piece of academic work.
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Valeria Scotti (@ValeriaScotti6)
February 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact - http://t.co/Ln30IKEDb0

@mptoro
February 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact http://t.co/G16oPaXPDp via @altmetric #metrics #mentions #impact

Ricardo Mairal Usón (@rmairal)
February 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

InvestigaUNED: Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact http://t.co/Lzo6Bwuhye  http://t.co/N0lgsr8Vyw

Xavier Lasauca (@xavierlasauca)
February 25, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of #research #impact, by @altmetric http://t.co/xn3Rg6DbhR #altmetrics http://t.co/4bAmI8VM4Q

@mpmolina
February 25, 2015 at 12:00 am

#Altmetric ‘mentions’ and the identification of research impact http://t.co/MDwLzOKeYv via @xavierlasauca http://t.co/mDCP5CrbPM

Kirk Englehardt (@kirkenglehardt)
February 26, 2015 at 12:00 am

Can social media mentions offer insight into the broader impact of academic research? http://t.co/FM9bUDiexU @catherinelucy #scicomm

[…] 2014. The complete count of research document mentions that were found and analyzed as part of the Altmetric Mentions and the Communication of Media Research: Disseminating Research Outcomes Outside … report is shown in the source breakdown […]

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