Poster: Using altmetrics and citation counts to assess the social and academic impact of Médecins Sans Frontières publications

Each year, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staff and their academic colleagues publish a large number of research findings in peer-reviewed scholarly articles, which are made freely available in the online repository of MSF Field Research. Since MSF’s field research has great potential to influence many domains, including policy, clinical practice, and humanitarian advocacy, it is important for the organisation to find ways to maximise the reach of its research. Some approaches for capturing the “uptake” of MSF’s scholarly outputs include obtaining journal article citation counts and MSF field research repository item download counts. However, these measures of impact have limitations: 1) citation counts may take months or years to accumulate and may not capture non-academic impact, and 2) item download counts do not provide information about how the research was subsequently used by the reader. Altmetrics, or “alternative metrics”, can potentially provide a view of both social and academic impact by measuring attention in multiple online channels, including news coverage, blog posts, and social media. As such, altmetrics provide real-time measures of research uptake that can be used to assess the quantity and quality of online attention surrounding scholarly articles.

This poster examines the social (altmetrics) and academic (citation counts) impact of MSF publications from July 2011 to December 2012. This poster will be presented at the MSF Scientific Day in London, UK on 10th May 2012.