Altmetric Blog

Altmetricon 2016

Josh Clark, 18th November 2016

This year’s Altmetricon event was well attended by altmetrics enthusiasts, users and knowledge seekers from publishing, funding and academic sectors – all ready for a day of presentations and stimulating discussions around altmetrics and their use. The morning sessions began with an insightful talk from Simon Porter, VP of Academic Relationships and Knowledge Architecture at Digital Science. Simon spoke about the state of the researcher information and the part that we, as a community, play in its expansion.


Some important issues were brought up in Simon’s talk, including the importance of information that identifies people and their research being made publicly available. Simon used examples of academic profile pages from Universities in the UK showing the need for persistent identifiers to track academics and their work, including use in non-academic databases (such as University Human Resources departments).

Simon went on to speak about the importance of good metadata – referencing that it is becoming more common for publishers to require an ORCIDID before publication. He then spoke about the needs of funders being similar to institutions, and how if metadata for research includes an ORCIDID from the beginning it can be a catalyst for the research process and make collaboration more achievable.

Next up was Founder of Altmetric Euan Adie, who gave a run through of what’s next for Altmetric. Euan gave a brief introduction about what Altmetric as a company is trying to achieve: focusing on helping people get credit where credit’s due.

He then went into the company’s achievements form the past year including the New Altmetric Explorer for Institutions version 2, tracking Open Syllabus Project data and the continued updates we’re making to our products.

Euan explained that over the next two quarters we will continue to improve our tracking of books and making our data more actionable and useful. In particular we will be developing our data to make it easier to produce meaningful reporting, building case studies, highlight success and aid recruitment, promotion and tenure.

IMG_5302Next up was Altmetric’s Lead UI Developer, Matt MacLeod, with a demonstration of visualisations currently being developed. Matt began with showing the work he’s been doing with UCB Pharma for displaying the attention epilepsy research has received. The visualization features the use of  different sized bubbles to show volume of attention. Matt then played a sample of our real-time altmetrics visualisation to give the audience a sample of the rate at which data and mentions flow into the Altmetric pipeline.
Jenny Wooldridge, Associate Programme Manager from The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) gave a talk about using altmetrics to predict impactful research. The NPL run an internal competition where their scientists submit papers to a panel of peer reviewers, who judge based on a number of factors. Jenny did a study that analysed the research quality and impact based on citations and then compared those citations to altmetrics data for the same articles. Her finding showed a strong positive correlation between publications with a non-zero altmetric attention score and the REF scores of research impact.

The afternoon sessions were kicked off by Dr. Sumi David, Strategy and Development Manager at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), who spoke about supporting research excellence across the arts & humanities from a funder’s perspective. Dr. David talked about the varied ways in which the AHRC collect evidence and their needs when it comes to funders being accountable for reporting back on how their research is performing.

IMG_8978We then heard from Katy Alexander, Head of Strategic Marketing at the British Medical Journal (BMJ) about the practical uses of Altmetric data in their marketing. Altmetrics allow the BMJ to analyse where to best place their promotional efforts. Katy spoke about how altmetrics help her team to track the ‘electronic word of mouth’ by notifying them about conversations around specific articles, and to quickly see what subject areas are trending – giving them the ability to stay reactive to what their competitors are doing.

Fiona Miller, Research Funding Officer from the University of Stirling,  told us about their experience of using the Altmetric Explorer for Institutions – having been a subscriber since early 2015. Stirling have used altmetrics data to support their researchers in promoting their research on the institutional Twitter account as well as through blogging. They have also produced an institutional research webpage where they showcase the top ten Altmetric Attention Scoring papers. As well as this Stirling have revamped their repository pages to include the Altmetric donut and score for each paper, and are updating their researcher profile pages to include Altmetric data. They’ve also utilised altmetrics to inform their funding applications process to decide where funds should be allocated.


Following some engaging roundtable discussions the day concluded with a final presentation from Tom Lickiss, Senior Research Consultant at UberResearch. 

Tom introduced UberResearch’s flagship product Dimensions: a database of research funding which includes information on over 3.4 million funded projects globally. Altmetric’s badges are now available within the Dimensions platform for mutual customers – providing insights into  how much attention has been found relating to the individual research outputs resulting from a funded project, which projects are receiving the most attention, and whether the location of the attention correlates to the location of the funder.     

All the slides from the day are now available to download from Figshare.  We’d like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to Altmetricon and we look forward to seeing you again next year! 

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