Since 2014 the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has been using Altmetric data to record and showcase the broader impact of its publications. By integrating the Altmetric donut visualisations onto the article pages, ASHA are able to provide their journal website visitors with the complete record online attention for their publications.
ASHA were also an early adopter of the Altmetric Explorer for Publishers, which gives their staff access to analytics around the engagement for their journals. They recently integrated the Altmetric API into the ASHA Journals Academy blog to display a top five list of trending articles from their journals. We caught up with Mike Cannon, Director of Serial Publications and Editorial Services,to ask him about the new feature on their blog and to learn more about what insights he hopes it will provide to their readers.
Hi Mike! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at ASHA?
I am the Director of Serial Publications and Editorial Services at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 191,500 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students.
Can you tell us about the ASHA’s relationship with altmetrics and how long you’ve been using them? What initially got you interested in the data?
We launched the Altmetric badges shortly after we migrated our journals to a new platform (pubs.asha.org) in 2014. The overarching goal of the new platform was to provide for our users an integrated set of publications that were fully semantically connected. We felt that bringing the publications together in this way would better connect users to context around particular research areas, thus making available greater opportunities for discovery and learning. Because of the growth in the research we were publishing, we saw the Altmetric badges as a way to help users sift the literature a bit by having pointers to the articles that were getting the most attention.
As we built out our program further around our new platform, we increasingly saw the Altmetric details pages “behind” the badges as a valuable additional layer of context for our users, thus helping us realize our goals of the platform overall. Later in 2014, we added the Altmetric Explorer package so that we could give ourselves some better insights into how we were doing by comparison to other titles in our discipline. As our journals continue to grow, we are increasingly relying on the Altmetric Explorer data to help us make strategic decisions about the scope and direction of the journals.
“We increasingly saw the Altmetric details pages as a valuable additional layer of context for our users”
You’ve recently used the Altmetric API to add a new feature to your blog to display trending articles. Can you tell us how this came about?
We developed our ASHA Journals Academy around additional strategic priorities for our program, particularly to support the launch of editorial boards for each journal, a new template structure for our peer reviews, and our increased emphasis on the use of reporting frameworks, among several other initiatives. Rather than simply fleshing out pages on our platform using the tools available there, we wanted to provide a more comprehensive educational resource for our authors, editors, and reviewers. In addition, we wanted to build in a resource aimed at helping our users—the vast majority of whom are practicing clinicians—keep up with and learn more from the research published in their journals.
To that end, we built in a blog on our Academy site and then worked with Altmetric support to develop a widget that shows which articles are receiving the most attention across our journals. The widget is sortable by time period and is placed next to an RSS feed of the most recent articles published in our journals. Combined as well with a widget showing our Twitter feed for the program, we were able to develop a “New and Trending” section of our blog that is hopefully a bit more engaging for users than simply scanning an eTOC and moving on. So far, we have seen a good bit of traffic from these tools over to the articles themselves on the platform.
Why do you think it’s important to display a list on the most highly mentioned online articles prominently on your homepage?
For our users, as would be true for most professions, there is more demanded of them every year. More paperwork, more patients, and more practice and research developments to keep up with. Giving them tools that help them sift through the latest research, as well as dive deeper and see how people are talking about or using articles, is important for advancing our knowledge translation goals at the association. It is also member-centric and conducive to building more conversation around the research. That is important for us in terms of the ever-growing emphasis on evidence-based practice. In addition, for our researcher users especially, the Altmetric dashboard for an article can contain important leads for them, such as what policy documents are citing the particular article they are looking at. It’s an important avenue for further discovery, which is very much in line with our goals for the ASHAWire platform that they have come to rely on.
“We wanted to provide a more comprehensive educational resource for our authors, editors, and reviewers”
Do you have any internal or external feedback on the list that you could share with us?
Internally, we have several workgroups in the office who are appreciative of the different view provided via the New and Trending section and the tools within it. In our broadly focused external communications, we have directed members to the new tools and seen significant traffic from those communications to the New and Trending section on our blog. We are planning on featuring it more as we flesh out the Academy site more through this year, and we are looking forward to showing it to users in person at our Annual Convention.
Are altmetrics being used in any other contexts at ASHA?
We consider the data when selecting articles to promote on more widely focused social media channels of the association (vs. our program-specific outlets). Something indicated as trending according to the Altmetric data is likely to be of broader interest as well. We are users of the GrowKudos system as well, so the Altmetric data integration there is a useful tool in working with authors using that system.
How do you envision the use of altmetrics progressing at ASHA?
We would like to build in more connections to our published research from resources on the asha.org website, so bookmarklets and widgets will likely prove useful for that. We are also increasingly orienting new members and student members to Altmetrics so they are aware of the benefits to them as they become more frequent users of the journals that are an essential benefit of their membership.