Course in the works: Web Tools for Altmetrics

Hey All-

Wanted to throw it out there that myself and Peter Kraker (Open Knowledge Panton Fellow) will be building out a course that introduces learners to tools for gathering altmetrics on research products. In a nutshell, altmetrics are conversations (views, shares, downloads, citations, etc) of research papers, data, and code that exist on the web, that measure the impact of specific research that isn’t factored into traditional (closed) research impact ratings. It’s part of Open Scholarship, so we’re building this as a School of Open course.

Here’s a link to the draft course that hasn’t been touched in months (very rough draft!):

I’m going to move this content over into a Google doc, and then submit for feedback.

The proposed activities of the course are:

  • Get an introduction to altmetrics
  • View existing tools for gathering altmetrics
  • Run a research paper DOI or URI through one of the tools
  • Run an alternative research product (presentation, dataset, etc) DOI or URI through one of the tools
  • Fill out a form describing what was found, compare to what other learners have found by doing the same
  • Assess the openness of the tool (can you download the data, is it openly licensed, are the ratings transparent in calculation, etc)

Ideally, one output of the course would be a crowdsource spreadsheet of results people got when they gathered altmetrics on the two research outputs. This could be visualized in some way, which would be great, but is secondary to a few things.

Whoosh…this was quite a long “throw it out there,” and I’ll hold the other ideas and extensions of this course for now. I’m eager to hear any thoughts you have about how to:

  • Make the course focus on openness (as in the SOO)
  • Make the course participatory
  • Help the course support peer learning and feedback

Thanks much,


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Oh, and here’s a little more context to building a short course on this:

Was hoping I could interest @vanessa @1L2P @dirk @tim or others in taking a peek :smiley:

And here’s some background on Peter’s overlapping work:

Thoughts, ideas, critiques all welcome.



hi there Billy, sounds interesting. I was once focusing on reputation systems, and I had some interest in altmetrics as well. I developed a conceptual model to design a reputation system, where you can weight and include different sources, that have a direct or indirect significance in terms of value. Also, the source weight matters but only within a similar context as the object being rated, so if you’re a prof in statistics you have more weight in rating statistics related objects (papers, reports, comments), but not for wine-related objects.

I would be curious for some feedback. It’s not openly published unfortunately, but here is the dropbox link: Good luck with the course, I would have hoped I had some time to follow it or help design it, but not this year I am afraid.

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Ah, very cool, @thiemehennis! Thanks for sharing :smile:

The quality / context / sustainability framework outlined for reputation system analysis is very interesting. And the reputation system algorithm work is brilliant (and admittedly a bit over my head). I imagine for this course, statistics related objects will be the focus, though it’s good to think about how they may plug in to community reputation systems.

Thanks for the good wishes. We’ll see how developing the course goes :wink:

In case you’re interested, here’s a recent meta-level analysis of important altmetrics:

Great to know you’re listening in, too!

thanks for reading it Billy. Will keep listening in. Good luck. And thanks
for the link!

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Sounds like a great course idea! I think a lot of people hear about tracking the impact of their research but aren’t always sure how to get started with it. Getting more people tracking and publishing more information on their research can only lead to good things…

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