We’re pleased to announce this month’s Altmetric Ambassador of the Month: Cristina Huidiu, co-organizer of the recent successful 3:AM altmetrics conference in Bucharest, Romania.
We recently emailed with Cristina to learn her thoughts on advocating for altmetrics in a bibliometrics-focused higher ed environment, highlights from the recent 3:AM altmetrics conference, and her vision for the future of altmetrics.
Tell us about your career to date–what have you been working on in recent years, as a librarian interested in altmetrics?
As a librarian for the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila Bucharest Library, I focused on helping researchers understand how metrics, either traditional or alternative, can be used to find funding opportunities, discover trends and overall understand the story behind the numbers. Apart from analytics, I was also responsible with implementing and managing the library’s proxy, our social presence, delivering trainings and organizing events.
You’ve done a lot to raise the profile of altmetrics in Romanian higher ed. What’s been your biggest success? Have you encountered any challenges?
I can talk about my work in term of baby steps, starting from explaining the concept, moving the conversation from “measuring Facebook is not science” to “I can be a part of the conversation that’s going around my research” or “I didn’t know that my code or references in policies could count.”
For me, having 3:AM in Bucharest is the biggest success as it was an important trigger for more in-depth conversations around the topic. Romania is still very traditional in terms of how research is communicated and analyzed and there is a distinct, almost unanimous opinion that social media was made for play and “real research” needs to be communicated through official channels aka academic publishing. That being said, the challenge is in the very way researchers are used to look at science communication without seeing it as an extra burden.
You’ve written before about how “impact” is currently assessed in Romanian higher ed–it seems to currently mostly depend upon bibliometric indicators, rather than altmetrics. Do you think that will change any time soon?
Given the European Council’s focus on altmetrics, even if the need to use altmetrics won’t grow fast enough organically, it will slowly start to be adopted although having nationwide policies would speed up the adoption rate.
You were a driving force behind the recent successful 3:AM conference in Bucharest. What’s the most interesting or useful thing you learned at that meeting?
Picking the most interesting is a tough thing to do. I find it fascinating how different countries use bibliometrics and altmetrics differently depending on both cultural and political factors and how having a complex system of analyzing the impact of research and not that of research papers, can actually make science more open and efficient.
Where do you think (or hope) the field of altmetrics is headed next?
I’ve always seen altmetrics like the missing colors in a painting that help see beyond the sketchy contours. I think that the more it will become a part of research evaluation and the more holistic the analysis, altmetrics will become the primary assessment analytics. Research is not about publishing papers it is about innovation and research papers are just one type of output, next to software, data, academic communications, policies and exchanging ideas though all the different means of communication available.
Cristina is one of more than 200 Altmetric Ambassadors working worldwide to raise awareness of altmetrics. To learn more about the Ambassador program, visit the Altmetric website.