[Sigmetrics] Thomson Reuters and altmetrics: usage counts versus citation counts in Web of Science
Emilio Delgado López-Cózar
edelgado at ugr.es
Tue Oct 6 06:01:23 EDT 2015
Dear colleagues, even though 2015 is the year of the goat according to
the Chinese calendar, in the world of bibliometrics we have been living
for a couple of years now in the era of alternative metrics. Without a
doubt, altmetrics, and webometrics in general, which includes the former
and every other kind of indicator that measures the interaction of a
person in the web space, are all the rage right now. There is a swarm of
new indicators powered by data from general-interest social media
(blogs, Twitter, Facebook…), new bibliographic and scientific
repositories (Mendeley, Citeulike, institutional and subject
repositories…), as well as the also recently created academic social
networks (ResearchGate, academia.edu…). Today, any researcher, journal
or publisher who wants to follow the latest fashion must exhibit a whole
plethora of new indicators, lest they be considered obsolete. This is
what’s #trending at the moment in bibliometrics.
Scopus was the first database that included altmetric indicators as a
complement to traditional bibliometric indicators. It did it in 2012.
Last July the 30th, Elsevier updated the way Scopus presents its
altmetric information, and released a new module for article altmetrics.
Thomson Reuters, the champion of traditional bibliometrics, could not
risk being left behind. It hasn’t thrown itself into the embracing arms
of altmetrics and altmetric.com, but instead has decided to timidly
provide a non-purely-bibliometric indicator.
The new indicator, called “usage count”, measures the number of times
the full text of a document has been accessed and the number of times
the bibliographic reference of the document has been saved.
Specifically, it computes the number of times the full-text button (the
button that takes you to the publisher-controlled webpage where you can
download the document) is clicked, and the number of times the
bibliographic reference of the document is exported to a reference
manager (whether it is a direct exportation to the managers that are
supported by Web of Science, or in a format that can be later imported
to other managers).
The same indicator is computed for two different time frames: one is a
rolling window that measures the number of times the document has been
used in the last 180 days, and the other measures all instances of usage
since 2013 (February 1st). An instance of usage is either a click to
access the full text of the document, or the act of saving the
bibliographic reference to a reference manager. These indicators are
available both in the Web of Science Core Collection and in All
Databases, and it is also possible to sort documents by them.
In order to decipher the meaning of this new indicator, we conducted a
small exploratory study analyzing the correlation between usage counts
and traditional citations, which can be accessed from
Empirical data available from:
Emilio Delgado López-Cózar
EC3 Research Group: Evaluación de la Ciencia y de la Comunicación
Facultad de Comunicación y Documentación
Universidad de Granada
Dubitando ad veritatem pervenimus (Cicerón, De officiis. A. 451...)
Contra data non argumenta
A fructibus eorum cognoscitis eos (San Mateo 7, 16)
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