How consistent are altmetrics providers? Study of 1000 PLOS ONE publications using the PLOS ALM, Mendeley and Altmetric.com APIs

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Zahedi, Zohreh; Fenner, Martin; Costas, Rodrigo (2014): How consistent are altmetrics providers? Study of 1000 PLOS ONE publications using the PLOS ALM, Mendeley and Altmetric.com APIs. figshare.

http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1041821
Retrieved 16:59, Dec 22, 2014 (GMT)

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Accepted for oral presentation at the altmetrics14: expanding impacts and metrics, ACM Web Science Conference 2014 Workshop, Indiana University, Bloomington, 23-26 June, 2014

Comments (2)

  • Understanding the differences in counts retrieved using different methods is important for the development for #altmetrics. It's important to note that, in the case of Mendeley readers, Mendeley is the authoritative source. Counts retrieved from a third-party might be stale or inaccurate.

    It would be interesting to see what differences there may be between different installs of the PLOS ALM code by different groups. It would also be good to see Impact Story included in the comparison.

    03/06/2014    by W. Gunn

  • This is an important issue. The difference highlight the importance of having multiple providers of altmetric data and of developing standards. The adoption of altmetrics will be hindered without some standarization across providers (or, as this paper suggests, a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the methods used by each provider). 

    One thing I have found is that Altmetric.com does not track Mendeley readers at all unless papers have been mentioned in at last one other source that they track. This may not be true for all papers, but it certainly was for the subset of papers I looked at. 

    How each provider queries from sources also matters: searching only for DOIs may some false negatives, as sometimes papers are not linked with their DOI (you can find more Mendeley readers if you also try to search by some metadata, such as the title). Similarly, not all publishers use the DOI in the URL, so searching only for the DOI string will yield false negatives in this case also. 

    Twitter is probably the source that is most sensitive to when the searches are carried out. Although Altmetric.com and PLOS both have their own in-house tools for tracking tweets, it is not clear how other publishers may be able to search for past tweets. In this sense, it is a shame that ImpactStory lost access to Topsy and that no suitable alternative to topsy has been found. 

    Thank you to the authors for bringing attention to this issue. More studies of this sort need to be carried out for a broader range of publishers. 

    10/06/2014    by J. Alperin

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