ETH Zurich

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“We wanted researchers to easily see who is attracted by their research.”

Oliver renn, Lecturer

About ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is a Swiss university that has specialized in science, technology, engineering and mathematics since 1855. Oliver Renn and Joachim Schnabl lead the Chemistry | Biology | Pharmacy Information Center (ICBP) and all science communication for the Chemistry and Applied Biosciences (D-CHAB) department within the institution.

The ICBP acts as a ‘scientific information skill center’ within the institution’s diverse teaching and research environment. In addition to providing students with the necessary skills in information management and retrieval, the ICBP offers a number of services to researchers, including help with outreach. As part of their roles, Oliver and Joachim are responsible for the managing the D-CHAB website and optimizing the reach of the institution’s scientific output.

Supporting Outreach

ETH Zurich subscribes to the Altmetric Explorer for Institutions, which has enabled them to quickly and efficiently report on their research communication and outreach efforts as well as keep track of the institution’s online reputation. By using the Explorer features, Oliver and Joachim can quickly see summaries of where and how much their institution’s research has been mentioned online, and also see when it is receiving attention from high profile news outlets. Using the email alerts feature within the Explorer, they are also able to closely keep track of when ETH Zurich professors and students receive new mentions on online channels.

Joachim and Oliver regularly publish news articles on the ETH Zurich website to promote research from their department. Using the Altmetric Explorer for Institutions, they are able to analyse the effectiveness of their promotional efforts
by tracking the increase in mentions across mainstream news outlets, social media and other online sources, following the publication of the promotional article on their site.

The D-CHAB website also features a live publications list that, with one click, can show the attention Altmetric has found for each publication.

By using the Altmetric API Oliver and Joachim were able to display Altmetric donut visualizations, which show an up-to-date indication of the engagement their research is having in the research and wider community, beside each publication. ETH Zurich is a publicly funded institution and, by displaying research in this way, they can showcase the broader impact it is having to anyone visiting their website.

ETH Zurich was an early partner of Kudos, a content management programme where researchers can upload their work to increase its reach, which they use in conjunction with Altmetric data. By using the two platforms together they can ensure that D-CHAB research is as visible as possible, is read by the right people and measure the effects of sharing their publications more widely.

Promoting altmetrics within ETH Zurich

Joachim and Oliver have organized training sessions called ‘Coffee Lectures’. The lectures provide 10-minute informal training on new tools, databases and more. Oliver and Joachim have used these lectures to spread the word about altmetrics data, the Altmetric badges featured on their website and their institutional access to the Altmetric Explorer database.

Altmetrics tools and data are promoted as part of the syllabus on many courses offered by the D-CHAB department. This is to educate students on how altmetrics can be used when promoting their research so they don’t solely depend on publishers. They also frequently include articles covering altmetrics related topics in their institutional magazine ‘InfoZine’. Altmetrics are included as part of the departments ‘Menu Card’ events, where attendees can choose topics like altmetrics from a menu to then receive a short training course.

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