The changing face of journal metrics | Elsevier Connect
"... The migration from paper to electronic delivery (particularly online) has enabled better understanding and analysis of citation count-based impact measurements and created a new supply of user-activity measurements: page views and downloads. Over the past few years, the growing importance of social networking — combined with a rising number of platforms making their activity data publicly available — has resulted in new ways of measuring scholarly communication activities: one encapsulated by the term altmetrics5. Although we have added these new metrics to this chart, we are not suggesting that superseding generations necessarily replace the earlier ones. In fact, the Relative Impact Measure is still used substantially, even though network analysis exists. The choice of which metric to use is often influenced by the context and question and first, second or third generation metrics may still prove more suitable options. Although the word altmetrics is still relatively new (not yet 3 years old), several maturing applications already rely on data to give a sense of the wider impact of scholarly research. Plum Analytics is a recent, commercial newcomer, whereas Digital Science’s Altmetric.com is a better established, partially-commercial solution. A third mature product is ImpactStory (formerly total-impact.org), an always-free and open application. Altmetrics applications acquire the broadest possible set of data about content consumption. This includes HTML page views and PDF downloads, social usage, (e.g. tweets and Facebook comments), as well as more specialized researcher activities, such as bookmarking and reference sharing via tools like Mendeley, Zotero and CiteULike. A list of the data sources used by ImpactStory appears below. As well as counting activities surrounding the full article, there are also figure and data re-use totals. Altmetric.com also takes into account mass media links to scholarly articles. What do all these numbers mean? Although there is some evidence to link social network activity, such as tweets, with ultimate citation count (Priem & Piwowar et al, 20126, Eysenback, 20117), this field is still in its early stages, and a considerable number of areas still require research. Further investigation aims to uncover patterns and relationships between usage data and ultimate citation, allowing users to discover papers of interest and influence they might previously have failed to notice. Planned areas of research include:  Scholarly consumption versus lay consumption...  When does social networking become marketing and when does it become gaming or cheating? ...  What other factors influence ultimate impact? ...  Do any particular consumption activities predicate others? ..."