Altmetric Blog

People can contribute to science in many different ways. Training to become a scientist is one way, and donating money to fund research is another. But in recent years, many people have been donating their free time and participating in the process of scientific discovery in a rather unconventional way: by playing computer games.   Citizen scientists and the Foldit phenomenon To understand the phenomenon of computer gaming for the greater good, let’s first take a step back and define “citizen science” in general. The term refers broadly to the participation of members of the public in scientific … Read More
In parallel with the work we’ve been doing on our text-mining news tracking mechanism, we’ve also been working on enriching the context for our Altmetric scores. On its own, the Altmetric score gives an impression of the quantity of attention that a paper has received. However, the score itself doesn’t necessarily capture the whole picture of attention. For instance, we might want to know if this amount of attention is “typical” for articles that were published at a similar time. Or, we might wonder if this amount of attention exceeds the levels expected for other … Read More
What can alt-metrics tell us about the use of digital data repositories? Publishing findings in a peer-reviewed article is no longer the only way that a researcher can be recognised for his or her research outputs. Since non-traditional impacts of journal articles can be assessed using alt-metrics, it also makes sense to determine what alt-metrics reveal for datasets and other research outputs. The scientific community has been moving towards increased openness, and academics have begun to make datasets, videos, presentations, and a plethora of other research outputs freely available and citable through digital repositories, notably figshare and Dryad. Many researchers have … Read More
Pinterest is a social bookmarking platform that is used for sharing (“pinning”) images, media, and webpages that feature virtually any topic, from vegan cooking to modern art. With over 48.7 million users as of February 2013 (according to comScore), Pinterest has become a massive social media platform that can deliver instant, community-curated inspiration. (I’ve joined the fun as well, and have been pinning my Interactions cartoons from this blog.) Pinterest’s science and nature category appears to be quite active, but the images and links found here are generally unrelated to peer-reviewed research. However, people do pin figures … Read More
What kinds of research did people talk about in February? Here’s a hint: they didn’t talk much about love, but they did speak about food, the heart, intellectual property, and some angry scientists. In no particular order, here is another Interactions monthly wrap-up post featuring a selection of 5 new and popular articles in the Altmetric database.   1. “Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity”Published on 31 January in the New England Journal of Medicine Amidst the outpouring of love (and grumpiness) elicited by Valentine’s Day, medical articles relating to obesity and cardiovascular disease were major topics … Read More
Field research… in the mosh pit With the help of soul-crushing power chords, a driving bass line, frenetic drumming, and perhaps a few otherworldly screams, certain groups of humans might find themselves behaving like random gas particles. After observing moshing from distance at a metal concert, metalhead and Cornell University graduate student Jesse Silverberg began to study the physics of extreme group movements in mosh pits. Silverberg and colleagues collected data from YouTube videos of moshers and created a computer simulation, observing that the energetic movements of the concertgoers could be predicted using 2D mathematical models of gaseous particle … Read More
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, a prosthetic hand, and models of Neanderthal skulls have something interesting in common: they’ve all been created through a process called “additive manufacturing”, which is more commonly known as 3D printing. With a seemingly endless number of applications and growing retail potential, the topic of 3D printing pops up frequently within mainstream news media. Currently, a PubMed search for 3D printing and additive manufacturing returns over 800 articles, which span a plethora of research disciplines, from materials science to tissue engineering. While you might expect the media hype about 3D printing to … Read More
Direct links to articles, links to news coverage, or mentions within text: online citation formats generally aren’t very consistent. Although bloggers who use the Research Blogging citation system cite articles in a specific manner, no such standardised system exists for mainstream news media. A large number of science news reports don’t even include links to the original papers that are mentioned, which creates a problem for measuring alt-metrics. Up until now, Altmetric has needed to see a direct link to an article in order to count a “mention”, so the absence of links in news reports meant that … Read More
Sharing science with LOLcats Last week, a Nature News & Comment article with the headline “Mice have massage neurons” introduced the subject of a new Nature study in an unusual way: with a video of LOLcats. The study in question was featured on the cover of the 31 January issue of Nature and found that a particular subset of sensory neurons innervating the hairy skin of mice was only responsive to gentle stroking motions. The fascinating neuroscience in the study garnered much online attention (see Altmetric score details), and an approximately equal proportion of … Read More
New feature: LinkedIn mentions If you’ve browsed through the Altmetric Explorer lately, you might have noticed a new addition: the LinkedIn tab (see below for a screenshot). We’ve been collecting mentions of scholarly articles on LinkedIn for a while, and now all these data are part of the Altmetric score. Take the LinkedIn tab for a spin on this example article details page. Although counts from Twitter and Facebook still make up the bulk of mentions of papers online, the professional social media network LinkedIn is also being used by academics to discuss articles. So far, … Read More