guest post by Jane Burns (@JMBurns99)
In August this summer I presented at the Comics & Medicine Conference: The Ways We Work. I presented on the panel about Academic Angles with other Health Librarians. My paper examined the role of the Health Librarian in the development of and engagement with Graphic Medicine for end users health literacy. One aspect that I focussed on was the engagement with altmetrics. I find using altmetrics provides a broader understanding of research impact. The application of altmetrics complements existing bibliometrics and other analytical tools. This is extremely useful in evaluating research outputs by demonstrating the level of attention that research is getting across a broad range of resources.
Since 2015 I have been the Altmetric.com Ambassador for Ireland. In my presentation at the Comics & Medicine Conference, I recommended that engagement with altmetrics can be great for demonstrating the validity and/or the impact of graphic medicine. I always find it helpful to have a rich common ground for communicating ideas with colleagues inside and outside of one’s profession. Those of us in Academic and Health libraries are acutely aware of the pressures involved in measuring and counting everything to demonstrate our impact. Bibliometrics and citation measurements are a known currency in these environments, so it is with this focus in mind that I proceed.
Who’s Talking About your Research? Altmetric knows!
Have ever seen or wondered what that cool colorful donut graphic that you see on the bottom of downloaded articles is? If so, you have found the right post.
That graphic is a logo for an altmetrics. When used to track the impact of an academic article, Altmetric demonstrates engagement with research outputs in non-traditional sources. Examples of these non-traditional sources are policy documents, social media, news outlets and blogs. These measurements are indicators of research impact and help researchers understand how their research is being received and used. Altmetrics also provide indicators of where your research is being used in geographical locations.
While all researchers can benefit from engaging with altmetrics, early career researchers benefit the most, primarily because traditional bibliometrics take a long time to accrue. Altmetrics provide measurements from a broader reach and demonstrate early impact. This is important for researchers as they can become aware of and demonstrate the real-world, real-time impact of their work. In addition to published papers, altmetrics can also demonstrate attention from a broad range of research outputs including posters, data sets, and working papers. This helps researcher get credit for impact activities across a broad range of outputs.
The Altmetric.com donut is a visual representation of the attention an output has received. The colours themselves reflect where the posts mentioning the output came from. For example, red means that the article has been mentioned by mainstream news outlets, blue means it has been tweeted about. The graphic below demonstrates the legend of the colors of the donut.
Altmetric provides a range of resources and additional readings about all aspects of the measurement. You can read in detail about the donut scoring in detail at this link: https://www.altmetric.com/blog/scoreanddonut/.
How to Access the Altmetric Bookmarklet
Guess what? The Bookmarklet (the Altmetric tool) is free and easy to download. Just visit Altmetric.com site where you can download the bookmarklet from the free tools section. The link becomes part of your bookmarks toolbar – you simply click the bookmarklet when visiting an article page on a publisher site. A summary of the data Altmetric have tracked for the paper will appear. You can then click on the donut image to see the full record of online attention for the article.
Altmetric Measurement in the Medical Graphics Space
I’ve picked a few of my favorite graphic medicine articles and my favorite book to demonstrate what their Altmetric scoring looks like.
Green, M. J.; Myers, K. R. 2010. Graphic medicine: use of comics in medical education and patient care. British Medical Journal,340,C863-C863. DOI 10.1136/bmj.c863
From this screen shot we can view the summary of impact and then drill down into to various formats where the mentions have taken place. A quick glance tells us the majority of mentions has taken place on twitter. This makes sense because a significant number of people interested in Graphic Medicine share and communicate regularly via twitter. An examination of the tweets adds validity as many of the movers and shakers in this space are tweeting and retweeting about the article including Ian Williams who is a leader artist and author in the Graphic Medicine space and is also credited with the coining the term “Graphic Medicine.”
A bit more digging through the data Altmetric have tracked reveals that this article has been cited 76 times and lists the most recent citing.
Lalanda, M., Altisent, R. & Delgado-Marroquin, M. T. 2018. Teaching Confidentiality through Comics at One Spanish Medical School. AMA J Ethics,20,154-157.
A quick glance at this article indicates that is has been primarily been tweeted about. What is interesting though is the examination of the demographics of the tweeters.
From the graphic below we can see that this article has been tweeted across the world in a number of geographic locations and a demographic review illustrates a range of users engaging with the article.
Czerwiec, M.K.,Williams,I.; Squier Merrill, S.; Green,M.; Myers, K.; Smith,S. 2015. Graphic Medicine Manifesto, Pennsylvania, USA, The Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN: 9780271066493.
A cursory glance identifies 15 Tweeters- this might lead to the question how could this number of tweeters have such a high influence on Twitter? Examination of the impact of the tweeters reveals something very interesting
These 15 Tweeters, in 25 tweets, have a huge impact as they cumulatively have an upper bound of 66, 254 followers.
Do you want to find out more about Altmetrics?
If you are interested in finding out more about Altmetrics then check out the Altmetric website https://www.altmetric.com/. Talk to your Librarian or contact me @JMBurns99.
Jane Burns is a Professional Librarian, University Lecturer, and PhD candidate in Ireland. She loves Graphic Medicine and finding new and fun ways to integrate them into every aspect of her professional and personal life.