Over the next few months we’ll be bringing you some posts from other members of the Altmetric and Digital Science team. Watch this space – these are some of the brightest and most innovative people you could wish to work with!
We’re starting this week with Shane, the newest developer on the Altmetric team:
“I thought I’d say a few words on why I’m really excited about altmetrics in general and why science needs to pay more attention to data other than citation counts.
At a company conference last week we had a guest speaker, Daniel Glaser, who really got me excited about two way communication between the researchers and the public. That’s a relatively new idea. In the past, scientists would hide away in their labs to produce their research, and release it. And then move on. No feedback from anyone but their peers, and having no idea what their impact on society has been. This type of behaviour really damaged public trust: there’s lots of evidence of this.
That’s where new areas like alternative metrics comes in. Finally a researcher can go to one place and see what impact their work is having, and better: who’s talking about their work. One of the pieces of data we show for an article is the list of tweets that have mentioned it. The author can see the tweet and reply to it if they feel the need. Opening avenues where people can point out “have you thought about this edge case scenario?” can only make science stronger and make people more accepting of the results.
There’s a lot of work for us to do in promoting altmetrics to make people see how valuable they are. There’s also a lot of work for us to do on the development team to make sure our products are actually useful! At the moment there’s a big focus on making sure the integrity of our data is strong – these metrics come all other from the internet in lots of (some times messy) formats. It’s our job to clean that up and present it to you in a convenient way.
As a small team, the demands on our time change on a daily (sometimes hourly!) basis. It’s important for us to focus on the bigger picture and remember what we are all in this for in the first place – to help grow and improve the scholarly communication process.”