The following guest post was written by Kornelia Junge, Senior Research Manager at Wiley and Altmetric Ambassador.
Traditionally the verdict about the quality of a piece of research has been left to the researcher’s peers, assuming that they are the only ones qualified enough to judge. Also, in many cases they would be the only ones actually interested enough to read the article. Although the general public can quickly find scientific content on the web these days, many authors still look only towards their peers for evaluation. But meanwhile there are several parties who need to evaluate research without being in the inner circle of subject experts – funders who evaluate grant applications, or university administrators aiming for high scores in various ranking systems. And literally anyone can google for articles which support his/her personal opinions. As a publisher, we find it important to make our authors aware of the “public impact” of their work, and help them make sure that their data are not misinterpreted, and advise how they might want to engage with the parties who comment on it. The data supplied by Altmetric have proven immensely valuable in this work.
At Wiley, we work on two levels to achieve this: a) we develop tools and services which our authors can easily apply to their own publications, and b) we encourage our internal editors and society partners to actively reach out to individual authors and discuss the public impact of their work.
Regarding the tools and services: We have created a promotional toolkit for authors, which includes advice on how to improve discoverability via identifiers like DOI and ORCID. We are the first large, multidisciplinary publisher to make ORCIDs mandatory for authors. This will obviously facilitate the traceability for Altmetrics and help to achieve a more complete picture of an article’s impact. The toolkit also shows how to track the success of the promotional activities, and this is where Altmetric.com is prominently featured.
We’ve have also posted a couple of contributions to the authors section on Wiley’s “Exchanges” blog, for instance:
Regarding the individual outreach, the challenge has been to identify the articles which need personal attention. Wiley content gets a lot of engagement online: on average over 500 articles from our journal portfolio get mentioned each day. Our editors are usually aware which their most popular articles are – what they need to know is which articles are drawing attention right now, and from whom and for which reasons.
The “crappy Gabor” incident (where an unfriendly comment about another researcher made it into the published paper) has taught us some lessons here. Fortunately, when this happened we had already been working on an algorithm to catch these cases as early as possible. Meanwhile our “Altmetric Alert” has been active for over two years. Out of the daily mentions to our content, it filters out those articles where the Altmetric Attention Score increased by more than a given value or percentage in a single day. We can adjust these thresholds by journal. The editors and marketers of the journals then receive an email with links to the article and to the report on Altmetric.com. They all have access to the Altmetric Explorer for Publishers, and can drill into the details. They can then immediately notify the authors and make recommendations whether any of the comments need a public response, or whether the author should privately reach out to one or more of the people who posted. The general advice is that any communication should come from the author, not from the publisher, and, of course – NO SPAMMING.
We are now thinking about refining this service. Mentions on policy sites, for instance, will make a nice entry on any researcher’s CV, even if the threshold defined by our alert is not reached. Also we find many interesting sources inside the Tweets and Facebook posts, which are not covered in the “News” or “Policy” categories. So we are now investigating how best to monitor posts from selected contributors. We can see quite a few cases where an article has been quoted to support somebody’s personal “crusade”. Whether the author agrees with that person or not – we think he/she needs to know about it.
Yes, some editors use this service more than others. Those who do so regularly, report great feedback from authors. The same happens when our marketers select “hot” articles to feature in their campaigns. But it is remarkable how many authors are not aware of the public response to their articles. And even fewer catch on and get active on social media themselves. There is still a lot of work to do.
Senior Research Manager