This blog was first published on April 1st, 2015. Please see the note at the end for further details.
Altmetric are excited to announce that from the end of April 2015 we will be deploying brand new technology to enable the tracking of published articles, datasets, images and other research outputs discussed at major conferences. The new technology will capture mentions made by academics as part of their hallway and lunch queue conversations.
WATERCOOLER (Wide Area TravElling Reference COOLectER) is an inconspicuous, autonomous aerial drone capable of up to two hours of uninterrupted indoors flight. It is based at the conference’s Altmetric booth, where pamphlets and free pens are also available.
Commenting on this new development, Altmetric Founder Euan Adie said: “It’s brilliant that we are now able to track mentions of research outputs in this innovative way. We’re looking forward to offering our users and authors of the research further insight into who is talking about their work not just online but in the real world, and anticipate the drones being a very discreet and welcome addition to the conference experience.”
An omnidirectional microphone subtly lowered directly above targeted researchers engaged in scholarly discussion captures spoken mentions of outputs (Harvard reference style only), which are then processed in close to real time. For convenience researchers may also simply recite the output’s DOI.
The new mentions will be added to a ‘Conversations’ tab on the Altmetric details page. Users will be able to click through to the online biography of the person who made the original mention as well as see an excerpt of the relevant conversation. Mentions made by a more senior academic (over 10 years of experience) will contribute 15 to the score, between 5-10 will add 10, and under 5 years experience will add a 5.
Academics may opt out of WATERCOOLER tracking by wearing a wide brimmed hat or by conversing only under tables or in cupboards.
Jean Liu, Product Development Manager at Altmetric adds, “We know that many of our users are specifically interested in the attention that their work gets amongst the scholarly community, separate to the engagement it sees with the wider general public. We hope that by providing this additional data source, our users and the authors of the work will be able to more easily exchange ideas or clarify key points raised in the research.”
The initiative will launch at major research conferences from April onwards.
*We like a good chuckle in the office – April fools!