Our Ambassador of the Month for February is Phaedra Cress, who is Executive Editor of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. She is based in Clifton, New Jersey, and is an avid follower of all things altmetrics.
1. Tell me about your current work at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. What does a typical day involve for you? First, I would like to thank the entire Altmetric team for creating such amazing connections among its ambassadors and for creating a forum where everyone from novices to the more advanced can learn and educate others. Working for a medical society these past 2 years has been quite a different experience than working for a global publisher as in my 8 years at Wiley in Hoboken, NJ. I’m fortunate to have the benefit of my “corporate life” experience to use in my current role
A typical day for me involves a lot of contact with our publisher, Oxford University Press, many emails with authors, editors, and ASAPS staff, and a fair amount of research and strategic planning. I’m always mapping out new areas where I see growth is possible for the Journal and innovations such as altmetrics are incredibly useful.
We had our annual retreat this past weekend at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix and I decided to present about altmetrics—showcasing our #1 highest score of 398 for an article titled: Prospective Randomized Study of the Effect of Music on the Efficiency of Surgical Closures. It’s been quite amazing to watch the meteoric trajectory of this particular article (see screenshot below). Educating our editors and board about the importance, potential, and impact of altmetrics is something I view as part of my bailiwick.
It is my hope that more and more of our authors and readers will begin to use social media to self-promote and encourage greater discoverability of their research. The fact that 18 short months ago our highest Altmetric score was approximately 15, and now we have one that peaked at 400, is testimony to what’s possible and what’s happening in medical publishing today. The general public has taken notice and so many doctors with whom I communicate appreciate the value that can be garnered by utilizing social media in a strategic and robust manner. I consider myself a huge social media and Altmetric advocate and have given many presentations in promotion of both in an effort to educate and empower aesthetic surgeons. I recently met Cassidy Sugimoto at a conference in Cary, NC and we’re beginning work on a new article together that will focus on medical journals and the citation reach vs Altmetric reach by geography. This is something I’m very excited to explore.
2. Where did you first learn of altmetrics? At Wiley I had a colleague called Rachel Burley who was the guru and champion of all things altmetrics. Wiley was an early adopter and kept the staff abreast of the ongoing developments. I was immediately interested. Then, when I transitioned from Wiley to ASAPS I wrote an article that published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal called: Using Altmetrics and Social Media to Supplement Impact Factor: Maximizing Your Article’s Academic and Societal Impact (Altmetric score=40). The reaction to the article was positive and I was encouraged to learn more and teach more about it. I became an Altmetric Ambassador this past summer after meeting Betsy Donohue at the COPE meeting in Baltimore. I was so honored to be invited as an ambassador.
3. How do you think altmetrics can help journal editors? There are myriad ways that Altmetrics can benefit journal editors. First, I think every article deserves attention and while Impact Factor has been the gold standard for many years, as a culture I think we’ve evolved past the notion that it is the only metric that matters. I’m fascinated by the global reach illustrated by every individual Altmetric score. Knowing that someone in Belgium tweeted, someone in the press in Thailand covered the article, or a researcher in South Africa blogged about an article connects researchers, editors, and most importantly ideas in such a meaningful way. I encourage my editors to use social media and Altmetrics to ensure their message is shared as widely as possible and will benefit as many patients as possible. Some say that it’s not what you know but who you know and in this digital environment, the ability to foster new professional relationships with people on other continents could literally change the course of one’s career.
4. How do you think altmetrics can help authors? For authors who are academics or other prolific writers, a lot of the same messages and benefits apply. Meeting colleagues with whom you would not otherwise connect; sharing research via communities such as ResearchGate, having your work cited, recognized, and lauded—these are all ways in which altmetrics can benefit the careers and professional practices of authors.
Phaedra’s responses to these questions are so useful for journal editors from both publishing and academic backgrounds, who might have heard of altmetrics but aren’t sure what opportunities the data can provide. It’s really great for us to hear the concept that Altmetric data can be “career-enhancing” from a journal editor who works closely with academics.