Using altmetrics for assessing research impact in the humanities
The prospects of altmetrics are especially encouraging for research fields in the humanities that currently are difficult to study using established bibliometric methods. Yet, little is known about the altmetric impact of research fields in the humanities. Consequently, this paper analyses the altmetric coverage and impact of humanities-oriented articles and books published by Swedish universities during 2012. Some of the most common altmetric sources are examined using a sample of 310 journal articles and 54 books. Mendeley has the highest coverage of journal articles (61 %) followed by Twitter (21 %) while very few of the publications are mentioned in blogs or on Facebook. Books, on the other hand, are quite often tweeted while both Mendeley’s and the novel data source Library Thing’s coverage is low. Many of the problems of applying bibliometrics to the humanities are also relevant for altmetric approaches; the importance of non-journal publications, the reliance on print as well the limited coverage of non-English language publications. However, the continuing development and diversification of methods suggests that altmetrics could evolve into a valuable tool for assessing research in the humanities.
KeywordsAltmetrics Bibliometrics Humanities Mendeley Twitter Library Thing
- Bar-Ilan, J., Haustein, S., Peters, I., Priem, J., Shema, H., & Tersliesner, J. (2012). Beyond citations: Scholars’ visibility on the social Web. In E. Archambault., Y. Gingras & V. Larivière (Eds.), Proceedings of 17th International conference on science and technology indicators, (pp. 98–109). Montréal: Science-Metrix and OST.Google Scholar
- Hammarfelt, B. (2012). Following the footnotes: A bibliometric analysis of citation patterns in literary studies. (Diss.). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.Google Scholar
- Hammarfelt, B. (2013). An examination of the possibilities that altmetrics offer in the case of the humanities. In J. Gorraiz, E. Schiebel, C. Gumpenberger, M. Hörlesberger & H. Moed (Eds.), Proceedings of ISSI 2013 Vienna: 14th international society of scientometrics and informetrics conference (pp. 721–727). Vienna: Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH.Google Scholar
- Hellqvist, B. (2010). Referencing in the humanities and its implications for citation analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 61(2), 310–318.Google Scholar
- Holmberg, K., & Thelwall, M. (2013). Disciplinary differences in Twitter scholarly communication. In J. Gorraiz, E. Schiebel, C. Gumpenberger, M. Hörlesberger & H. Moed (Eds.) Proceedings of ISSI 2013 Vienna: 14th International society of scientometrics and informetrics conference (pp. 567–582). Vienna: Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH.Google Scholar
- Mohammadi, E., & Thelwall, M. (2013). Assessing the Mendeley readership of social science and humanities research. In J. Gorraiz, E. Schiebel, C. Gumpenberger, M. Hörlesberger & H. Moed (Eds.), Proceedings of ISSI 2013 Vienna: 14th International society of scientometrics and informetrics conference (pp. 200–214). Vienna: Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH.Google Scholar
- Priem, J., Piwowar, H. A., & Hemminger, B. M. (2012). Altmetrics in the wild: Using social media to explore scholarly impact. arXiv preprint:1203.4745.Google Scholar
- Priem, J., Taraborelli, D., Groth, P., & Neylon, C. (2010). Altmetrics: A Manifesto. http://altmetrics.org/manifesto/. Accessed 10 Jan 2013.
- Rasmussen, P. G., & Andersen, J.P. (2013). Altmetrics: An alternate perspective on research evaluation. Sciecom Info, 9(2).Google Scholar
- Tang, M., Wang, C., Chen, K., & Hsiang, J. (2012). Exploring alternative cyber bibliometrics for evaluation of scholarly performance in the social sciences and humanities in Taiwan. Proceedings of the ASIS&T Annual Meeting, Vol. 49. www.asis.org/asist2012/proceedings/openpage.html. Accessed 12 Dec 2013.
- Wouters, P., & Costas, R. (2012). Users, narcissism and control—Tracking the impact of scholarly publications in the 21st century. Utrecht: SURF-foundation.Google Scholar