Altmetric Blog

Books: The most underrated form of scholarly output?

Cat Williams, 22nd November 2019

In scholarly publishing and research evaluation, the journal article has dominated for years. In the most extreme cases, researchers are promoted and rewarded based purely on the number of publications they have produced in a year (especially the percentage of those published in ‘High Impact’ journals) — leaving the future of the book or monograph unclear. 

In a recent Altmetric webinar, stakeholders from across the scholarly space came together to discuss the challenges and opportunities that books present. Books, it was agreed, have a very vital part to play in scholarly communications – and offer a unique value that cannot be found through the production of journal articles alone. Ensuring that this value is acknowledged requires innovative approaches to understanding and capturing it, and it is that which companies like Altmetric and Digital Science have started to explore. 

Comparing books to journal articles is not the right way forward, and yet it is increasingly the context in which these conversations take place. For many authors, the emergence of metrics for books has raised new questions and has huge potential impacts for the titled that are commissioned, as well as the expectations we have of how those publications will be shared and consumed. 

These and other critical topics (not least the unintended consequences of the complicated infrastructure of books, and the obstacles that publishers from emerging research economies face) were top of the list for the conversation that took place: 


Keen to see how Altmetric and Digital Science are working to transform the narrative around books? Get in touch with our team today!


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