Playing with Impact Story to look at Alt Metrics for my papers, data, etc

The future of science will include in part better evaluations of the impact of individual scientists, individual papers and individual other units such as data sets, software, presentations, etc.

 There are many efforts in this area of “Alt Metrics” and one I have been playing around with recently is Impact Story. It used to be called Total Impact but they changed their name and some of their focus. It is pretty easy to use.

 One thing you can do is to create “A Collection.” To do this you go to their site, you register, and then you select “Create Collection“. And you add some information there

Among the information you can include: 
  • ORCID ID: ORCID is a new system for unique author IDs.  Once you get your unique ID you can curate / update your papers at the site (the site needs some work … some issues there with duplication).  I have gotten my ORCID ID and updating my publications there.
  • Articles from Google Scholar profile.  This allows one to upload a Bibtext fuile of one’s publication list from Google Scholar.  To get this, you need a Google Scholar page.  I have one here.  I have been playing a lot with Google Scholar recently: The Tree of Life: Wow – Google Scholar “Updates” a big step forward … and The Tree of Life: Thank you Google Scholar Updates for finding me … but did not realize it had a Bibtex export function until now.  From the drop down menu one selects “Export” and then can export ones publications (in the screen capture below the default option is Actions).  Once you get a Bibtex file you can upload it to ImpactStory.
  • Article and Dataset IDs.  Here one can Pubmed IDs or DOIs for other publications or datasets. Since most / all of my papers are in my Bibtext export and Orcid ID what I imagine using this for is data from places like Figshare and DataDryad
  • Webpage URLs.  One can include URLs here.  But so far my experience has been that they do not have a good system of assessing webpages.
  • Slideshare username.  If you are not posting slides and other materials on Slideshare, get with the program.  I post all my talks there.  And other things.  
  • Github Username.  A good place to post code/software.  We are doing this more and more in my lab.  I have a username though I don’t do much there myself.  
And then give your collection a name and click go.  It takes a bit of time to finish the initial collection creation with my list of materials.  But it is fascinating and very useful once done.  Here is a link to a collection “Jonathan Eisen try #3” I recently made.  I have not added everything to it but it is still a good record of how many of my contributions are being used.
My favorite thing to do so far is to click “expand all” from the menu which then shows the detailed Alt Metrics for everything.  

  • PDF views.
  • HTML Views. 
  • Facebook shares.  
  • Twitter shares.  
  • And much more. 
It does not seem perfect – not sure how the metrics are quantified for things like Twitter and Facebook.  But it gives a decent indication of how much chatter and use there is of various materials.
And you can export all the information for your own private use.  I can imagine this being VERY useful for promotion/tenure/other review actions.
I also sniffed around the site and found some nice features from their api page.  I especially like the embed function for specific DOIs.  You copy their text and change the DOI and you get a nice graphical summary of Alt Metrics for that DOI.  See an example at the bottom of the post.  Am probably going to add this to my publication lists on the web.

It is important to realize this is a BETA version. Still needs some work. But LOTS of cool things to play with. The future is here and I like it. Time to end reliance on indirect measures of the impact of papers and data (e.g., Journal Impact Factor). Time to measure actual impact. And this is a good tool to help do that.

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About Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

One thought on “Playing with Impact Story to look at Alt Metrics for my papers, data, etc

  1. So if Ethical Oil likes all the climate change denial and bitumen is good for you type of research and hires people to tweet / facebook etc. it out to all (and pay to promote), that means those researchers are pretty damn good and ought to get tenure, right?


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