American Psychiatric Association Publishing recently integrated the Altmetric badges into their journal pages to provide readers and authors with a real-time view of the online attention relating to their published articles.
We spoke with Michael Roy, Editorial Director of Journals at APA Publishing, to find out more about why they were keen to display altmetrics and how they hope to use the data:
Thanks for chatting with us Michael! Could you tell us a bit about your Journals?
My pleasure! Thanks for inviting me. Altmetric is part of an exciting future for us in which we will be investing a lot of our energies into analyzing data to improve our processes. APA Publishing has placed Altmetric badges on the sites of three of its prestigious journals: The American Journal of Psychiatry, the longest running medical specialty journal in the United States (published since 1844) and today the most widely read psychiatric journal in the world; Psychiatric Services, which has chronicled the transformation of mental health services and their delivery since 1950; and The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, which is dedicated to publishing work addressing critical subjects such as Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and seizure disorders.
And why were you keen to provide altmetrics for the articles you publish?
I like the notion of getting information much more immediately about whether we are publishing in areas for which there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm among researchers in our field. Citation data is good to know and report but by the time this is provided you can find yourselves too far down a particular path. Altmetric data gives us real-time insight about how our content is perceived in the marketplace of ideas and allows for an earlier pivot if necessary.
Have you spotted any interesting coverage of comments in the attention insights you’ve looked at so far?
I think what this does best is reduce our dependency on what I call “guesswork of the gut.” As an example, one day last month we published two articles online. One I thought was a can’t miss, discussing mental health and social networks after a disaster. That has everything right? Barely a ripple.
The same day we published an article about computerized cognitive training in older adults to help stave off dementia in those with mild cognitive impairment. Usual solid science of ours, I thought, but nothing special. That one? Huge. Even mentioned last week in Consumer Reports.
“I see it as a groundswell of additional evidence of a hunger out there for these types of studies.”
Now by itself that bit of data is interesting, but when I combined this anecdotal bit of data with my recollection of an Editorial Board member say at a meeting a year or so ago that there’s no real current home for dementia research, now I see it as a groundswell of additional evidence of a hunger out there for these types of studies.
How do you think this data can help researchers in this discipline?
Perhaps as a virtuous feedback loop. We have Editors making decisions on papers that they hope to see advancing the scientific literature. In turn, researchers see these advances in a journal of note and discuss it, perhaps prompting more studies in that subject area that are sent to the journal which then factors in relevance to the field as part of the publication decision.
Could you tell us a bit about how you’re rolling it out to your authors and readers?
We introduced the Altmetric badges onto our pages in November and let our Editors and Editorial Board members know about it, as several Board meetings the past couple years have had proponents for introducing these metrics. It has also been added to our user guides as well promoted to our subscribers.
“We’re already starting to look at this data to help us in our issue compilations and cover choices, examining how our content was received when first published online to see if that informs how we put an issue together.”
Do you think your internal teams will find this information useful? Is there anything you’re able to share about what they are planning to use it for?
I did a presentation about this feature for our association’s Communications Division, showing them how we get real-time information about how our content is being received and discussed, and who is doing the discussing and where. The two word response from the Chief: “Very cool.” We’re also onboarding new Editors for some of our titles and there is a tendency for new Editors to be less selective in what they send out for review. They haven’t yet felt comfortable with the idea of a quick “no.” Providing performance data can help attain this comfort level more rapidly.
“We look forward to using Altmetric data in combination with other post-publication performance measures to provide actionable intelligence to inform what we ultimately choose to peer review, publish, and promote.”
And what’s next for APA Publishing’s journals and altmetrics?
We’re already starting to look at this data to help us in our issue compilations and cover choices, examining how our content was received when first published online to see if that informs how we put an issue together. We look forward to using Altmetric data in combination with other post-publication performance measures to provide actionable intelligence to inform what we ultimately choose to peer review, publish, and promote.