This post discusses the launch and roll-out of Altmetric data and badges across the Michigan Publishing portfolio. It was written with great input from Jon McGlone and Rebecca Welzenbach at Michigan Publishing – thank you both for your efforts and thoughtful contributions!
You might have seen Michigan Publishing’s recent announcement on the introduction of Altmetric badges across their journal portfolio. The roll out of the badges marks the beginning of what Michigan Publishing are positioning as a two year pilot phase to roll out Altmetric data across much of their content – including grey literature hosted in their institutional repository platform, Deep Blue.
A publisher with a strong tradition in humanities and in technical innovation, Michigan Publishing place a focus on not only ensuring that their business is sustainable, but also in encouraging and supporting their authors in exploring more diverse forms of publishing. In doing so they are keen to help their authors get credit for the research outputs that extend beyond journal articles – and to provide them with the feedback and data to enable them to demonstrate the impact of all of their work.
It’s equally important to Michigan Publishing that the value they offer to their authors can be reflected back to their stakeholders; to the institution that supports them. In implementing the Altmetric data across their portfolio, and using the Altmetric Explorer for internal reporting, they are aiming to gather a much more extensive and transparent understanding of who is using their content and how their publishing programmes are adding value to the disciplines that they serve.
“Altmetric is really important to us in terms of being able to tell stories about impact to be able to report back to our parent institution, and to the authors that publish with us.”
Open access is at the heart of Michigan Publishing’s portfolio. They are one of the first organizations to offer a fully open access journal program that does not charge author fees and is for the most part supported by library and volunteer staff. Although publishing OA books since 2005, they are aiming to improve how they quantify the value of their open monograph program and ensure its usage and sustainability. Altmetrics, they believe, will play a crucial role in being able to report on the attention surrounding their outputs, and in helping them to position the content effectively. Their researchers, they note, get asked to report on the impact of their work – and are looking for stories to tell that provide evidence of engagement beyond the academic sphere.
The new initiative ‘The Common Good: Humanities in the Public Square’ has not gone unnoticed by Michigan Publishing – and keen to maintain their reputation as recognized thought-leader in their space they have taken this as further indication of the drive to look beyond traditional outputs and metrics alone as a measure of success.
As library publishers seek to develop their strategies, sustainability and the ability to demonstrate need and usage are for many equally, if not more, important than financial ROI. Data such as that provided by Altmetric can help them gather the feedback that is recognised as difficult to track and quantify: how is our research being used, what impact is it having in the ‘real world’, and how can we demonstrate this?
“Authors are being asked to deliver a whole range of more quantitative metrics of impact, to talk about why their thoughts are worthwhile, and they’re searching for good stories to tell.”
Already, Altmetric data has helped Michigan Publishing uncover stories that demonstrate the importance of their open access programs to audiences beyond academics or in countries with limited access to subscription-based academic journals. For example, one article published in the Trans Asia Photography Review has seen significant Twitter attention in India, a story they were able identify using Altmetric’s geographical breakdown of article mentions.
Another, published in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association was referenced in several news outlets in 2014–something Michigan Publishing was not aware of until reviewing Altmetric data for the journal.
The project has begun with the initial implementation of Altmetric badges across the OA journals and books. From there it is intended to be extended across their Deep Blue repository content, and further into an increasing spread of non-traditional research outputs.
Altmetric’s Euan Adie adds, “We’re really pleased that Michigan Press decided to come on board with Altmetric. A lot of the work they are doing in supporting the research community closely aligns with the objectives that we as a company have set out to demonstrate, and it’s great that they are planning to apply the data extensively across non-article research outputs.”
As an organisation with the aims of the institution and the academics they serve integral to all of their development, Michigan Publishing look forward to further exploration of the opportunities that altmetrics hold for themselves, their institution, and their authors.