Altmetric Blog

Thank goodness for customers: A recap of user days with our government and corporate partners

Guest Author, 7th June 2017

This post is contributed by Sara Rouhi, Director of Business Development in North America for Altmetric.

Altmetric just came out of a full week of meetings with non-academic customers in North America. COO, Kathy Christian, and Product Manager, Jean Liu, joined me and Digital Science colleagues to talk best practices, pain points, and ‘ah ha’ moments at two user days on May 22 and May 25.

We kicked it off in Washington DC (my hometown!) with a day of user discussions from the Communications Office of the National institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) and reference and systems librarians from the Stephen B. Thacker library at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. Representations from NSF, the Department of Energy, Congress, the NIH, the Federal Reserve and the EPA, amongst others, attended to learn about best practices in using not just the Altmetric badges and Explorer platform but also how to leverage the power of the Altmetric API and raw data for deeper analysis.

Themes for the day remained consistent. Government agencies understand that online dissemination of research products — anything produced in the research life cycle, not just journal articles — is critical to demonstrating the value of the agency or lab’s research.

The goal, as stated by NIOSH Director, Dr. John Howard, is understanding user behavior with an eye to meeting the public, workers, worker safety advocates and other NIOSH stakeholders where they regularly seek information. Interestingly in the worker safety space, NIOSH has found that Wikipedia has been the most significant and consistent driver to NIOSH research objects — white papers, reports, data, and journal content. Christy Spring, Associate Director of Communications, outlined NIOSH’s “Wikipedia-in-Residence” program, explaining NIOSH’s strategy to enhance Wikipedia content relevant to NIOSH stakeholders with citations and video to NIOSH research and support materials. Christy elaborated upon a webinar she did with Altmetric and the NIOSH Wikipedians in Residence earlier this year. You can listen to that webinar here.

“Government agencies understand that online dissemination of research products — anything produced in the research life cycle, not just journal articles — is critical to demonstrating the value of the agency or lab’s research.”

The librarians from the Centers for Disease Control approached Altmetric best practices from the perspective of rolling out new software and data to a huge, many-limbed organization. Jarvis Sims and Martha Knuth provided an in-depth overview of not just how to role out the application and make sense of its data, but how to educate users unfamiliar with the idea of “alternative metrics” writ large. Education about impact metrics, the difference between journal-based metrics and web-based metrics, and the complementarity of these indices in presenting a picture of “impact” or “reach” has been a critical part of rolling out Altmetric to the agency.

Our government customers and prospective users are working on next steps to take what other agencies have already done to avoid reinventing the wheel and sharing best practices to move the user community together. More to come on this!

We then headed north to Cambridge, MA — the week of Harvard’s commencement, no less! — to meet with another rapidly growing client base: life sciences and biotech companies.

When I started at Altmetric 3 years ago, I wasn’t even aware that life sciences, biotech, agricultural, and energy companies had huge research arms with impact assessment needs. We have had to learn the landscape fast and are lucky to have a growing customer base eager to help educate us on the unique organizational and regulatory intricacies of these huge corporate entities.

Thanks to representatives from Pfizer, Sanofi, and Envision Pharma Group we managed to get into the weeds and think blue sky all in one morning. Catherine Skobe, Director of Publications Management at Pfizer, presented findings from an in-depth analysis of Altmetric data for Pfizer’s main therapeutic areas, conducted with Adelphi Communications. Those findings were presented publicly at the International Society for Medical Publications Professions (ISMPP) in 2016. Pfizer continues to explore the power of Altmetric data as a qualitative data source to determine who is engaging with Pfizer clinical trials, posters and presentations, and peer-reviewed articles.

“Thanks to representatives from Pfizer, Sanofi, and Envision Pharma Group we managed to get into the weeds and think blue sky all in one morning.”

Dr. Svetlana Pidasheva, Director of Global Scientific Communications & Publications at Sanofi pulled us out of the data weeds to share recent research conducted by Sanofi on mobile technology and its efficacy in helping empower patients to better manage their own chronic conditions. You can access the article here (which already has an Altmetric Attention Score!). Sanofi has been consciously monitoring the major shifts in how patients and practitioners seek and consume medical information. Additionally, Sanofi has been using Altmetric data to evaluate engagement with clinical trials from clinicaltrials.gov

Lastly, we further unveiled live our most recent partnership with Envision Pharma Group, integrating our badges into the iEnvision platform in the iLibrary solution. Paul Lane, Director of Social Media and Web-based Information at Envision, demoed the live integration and led a discussion around how third party agencies like Envision bring alternative metrics expertise to life sciences companies.

Whew! That’s just scratching the surface of a very busy week. Huge thanks to our customers, colleagues, and friends for fueling an exciting and stimulating set of conversations. So. Much. More. To. Do. We can’t wait!

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