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Altmetrics: Rethinking and Exploring New Ways of Measuring Research

Principal Investigator (PI): Professor Theng Yin Leng

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI): Asst Prof Wen Yonggang (SCE), Assoc Prof Sun Aixin (SCE), Asst Prof Xiao Xiaokui (SCE), Asst Prof Joanna Sin (WKWSCI), Professor Richard Ling (WKWSCI), Asst Prof Winson Peng (WKWSCI), Prof Michael Khor (RSO), Professor Edie Rasmussen (SLAIS, UBC)

Collaborators: Mr. Chia Yew Boon (NTU Libraries), Ms Samantha Ang (NTU Libraries)

Funding Agency: National Research Foundation (SRIE)

Start Date: Feb 2015

End Date: On-going

Abstract: Traditional metrics for scholarly and scientific publishing such as citation counts and impact factors have been criticised for being too shallow and too narrow. There is a need to have metrics that allow equitable comparisons, and that can be used to benchmark research. Today, with access to large volumes of data from diverse resources, it is possible to define alternative research impact metrics that capture domain-specific insights.

In recent years, altmetrics have appeared as new and alternative metrics to the widely used traditional metrics for measuring research impact. Altmetrics was first proposed in 2010 as a generalization of article level metrics, but they can be applied to people, journals, books, data sets, presentations, videos, source code repositories, web pages, etc. Altmetrics cover not just citation counts, but also other aspects on the impact of a work, such as how many data sets and knowledge bases refer to it, the number of article views, downloads, or mentions in social media and news media.

Therefore, the overall aim of this project is to investigate new approaches offered by Interactive Digital Technology and Social Media to rethink and explore ways to measure research outputs. The specific objectives are:

  1. To carry out a literature survey of traditional metrics and new metrics, that is, altmetrics to measure research outputs.
  2. To develop a framework and a set of hypotheses for cross-metric validation.
  3. To develop new metrics on research impact that can be harvested from social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Weibo, etc.).
  4. To develop new research impact metrics for the different disciplines, broadly divided into:

    (i) “hard sciences” research which include sciences, computing and engineering;
    (ii) “non-hard sciences” research humanities, arts, business and social sciences.

  5. To develop new metrics to measure research innovation and commercialisation.
  6. To design, develop and evaluate a system prototype called “Altmetrics for Research Impact Actuation” (ARIA) based on inputs from (a) to (e), with the aim to gather and compute altmetrics to measure research impact.