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figshare and altmetrics.


Today see’s figshare metrics become available on the altmetrics (alternative metrics) gathering platform Impact Story. Through our API, figshare exposes the metrics on the publicly available research outputs. This includes, downloads, shares and views of each object. Altmetrics are becoming increasingly important as researchers, academic institutions and funders look for new ways to track the impact of research outputs in a real-time manner. Previous attempts which have pinned all hope on the (questionable) impact factor gives a lag time thought to be over 2 years. There has already been some evidence that altmetrics can be a leading indicator of citation counts.

Impact Story is one of many organisations looking at ways to track the discussion of academic outputs around the web. The other notable player in this field is, a sister company of ours here at Digital Science. Altmetric has had a big impact in the academic publisher world in the last 12 months, most recently through Nature Publishing Group rolling out metrics on 20 of their journals last week, using Altmetric data.

This week, we are in attendance at the PLOS ALM (Article Level Metrics) workshop in San Francisco. There is a fantastic hacker feel to this community with huge levels of openness and collaboration between the various stakeholders. Impact Story itself started out as a hackbreak project called Total Impact just over a year ago. Hopefully there will be new ideas and the figshare open data can contribute to the progress in an even more substantial way.

The open nature of this conversation means that common goals can be worked on together so that barriers such as context, gamification, and sentiment analysis can be discussed and overcome in a more efficient manner. This ethos is similar to the general purpose of figshare. If we can get all academics collaborating in a competitive manner, amazing things can happen as the efficiency of research progress advances.

If you would like to play around with the figshare API, sign up now and head to As always, feedback, comments, suggestions and ideas are welcomed. Please get in touch at or via twitter, facebook or google+.

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