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Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate student Jason Priem

The long-term goal of the Total-Impact system is to move scholars and administrators away from the "citation-fetishizing article monoculture," says University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate student Jason Priem.

Credit: Lissa Gotwals / The Chronicle of Higher Education

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill researchers have developed Total-Impact (TI), a system to track the movement of research across the Web. TI is based on alternative metrics or altmetrics, an approach that aims to measure Web-driven scholarly interactions, such as how often research is tweeted, blogged about, or bookmarked. The goal of the altmetrics movement is to track the social Web's impact on research. "As the volume of academic literature explodes, scholars rely on filters to select the most relevant and significant sources from the rest," says UNC graduate student Jason Priem.

Researchers can go to the TI site and enter many forms of research, including blog posts, articles, data sets, and software. The Total-Impact system then searches the Internet for downloads, Twitter links, mentions in open source software libraries, and other indicators that the work is being noticed. "We've also gotten many requests from academic publishers and creators of scholarly Web applications to embed TI data into their pages" using the system's open application programming interface, Priem says.

The long-term goal is to completely change the way scholars and administrators think about academic impact and get them to move away from a "citation-fetishizing article monoculture," Priem says.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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