Advancing Altmetrics: Best Practices and Emerging Ideas

Virtual Conference

About the Virtual Conference

This is an active area for a variety of reasons. There is an on-going need to justify the work, space and resources invested in the library. How best to appropriately generate, synthesize, interpret and deliver the most useful data to demonstrate the return on investment made by the institution. What do we know to be best practices for using Altmetrics in assessment activities? How comfortable are faculty with the use of Altmetrics in the context of tenure & promotion activities?  

NISO’s working group on Altmetrics has built a better understanding of use cases for existing Altmetrics, but already there are discussions of whether new metrics might be usefully framed for measuring research impact outside of the academic environment or for capturing the value of non-conventional outputs of research.

Will the usage indicators of views and downloads be sufficient for evaluation of the usefulness of data sets? What example might be provided by studies of COUNTER, SUSHI and SUSHI Lite? What alternative approaches might be needed or fostered in order to ensure the discoverability, usability and reproducibility of scientific data sets?

Event Sessions

11:00am – 11:10am Welcome and Introduction


11:10 – 11:45am The Ghost of Altmetrics Yet to Come


Altmetrics is seven years old, and although the interest and momentum in our field has not slackened, the nature has changed. While many of the early suggestions made in the manifesto in 2010 are still to be realized, new uses have emerged. Internationally, research institutions and funders are pursuing evidence-based decision-making, and both traditional metrics and altmetrics are under serious scrutiny. Altmetrics has proven itself to be a flexible and adaptive field, but as it approaches its first decade, where will it position itself, and how will it adapt to the multiple demands of being a personal tool, an industry-wide analytical approach and an academic field?

11:45am – 12:15pm Lessons from the humanities and social sciences: exploring values-based altmetrics


Humanists and social scientists are increasingly using altmetrics to inform their scholarly research, outreach, and evaluation practices. This talk will make an argument for using disciplinary values to select and develop better metrics, including altmetrics, by which these scholars can manage their work. In particular, we'll discuss the work of the HuMetricsHSS Initiative--a Mellon-funded research team that seeks to better align evaluation practices in the humanities and social sciences with the values that drive academia.

12:15pm – 12:45pm Designing metrics that serve academia


We believe that academia works best when the right people get the resources they need to do what they do best. However, the metrics used to determine resource allocation aren't always aligned with the interests of the researcher, the mission of the institution & funding organization, or broader societal goals. A radical re-thinking of how metrics are designed, used, and understood is required to bring these into alignment, to facilitate assessment of research, respect the researcher's time, dispel troublesome myths, and cultivate a mindset of abundance. This wildly optimistic talk will propose such a re-thinking.

12:45pm – 1:45pm Break for Lunch

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Building New Faculty Services: Altmetric Adoption


Andy Herzog

Faculty Services and Online Engagement, Department Head
University of Texas at Arlington

UT Arlington Libraries piloted a new metric consultation and report service in 2016. In the year since the service launched, we have consulted with 40 faculty, reaching a diverse body in terms of discipline and academic rank. The presentation will discuss the circumstances that led to the pilot, challenges encountered, lessons learned, and what worked.

2:15 - 2:45 p.m. Telling Your Science Story: Using Alternative Metrics to Showcase Impact


Patty Smith

Impact and Dissemination Librarian, Galter Health Sciences Library
Northwestern University

Storytelling is an integral part of how we communicate—we’re wired to process and recall information in terms of story. But how does this concept fit into science? At Galter Health Sciences Library, librarians harness alternative metrics to help researchers enhance their NIH biosketches and promotion and tenure dossiers. In this talk, Patty Smith will discuss real-life examples of how librarians and researchers can use alternative metrics in a narrative format to showcase research impact and provide context to tell an engaging story. 

2:45pm – 3:15pm Make Data Count


Daniella Lowenberg

Data Publishing & Data Metrics Product Manager, UC Curation Center (UC3)
California Digital Library

Usage and citation metrics are essential to gauging reach and measuring the impact of data. Currently, groups are focused on determining best practices in data citation and linking data with publications. However, in order for data to be considered a valued research output, we must also build a common standard to measure how often data is being used. The Make Data Count (MDC) project is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to develop and deploy the social and technical infrastructure necessary to elevate data to a first-class research output alongside more traditional products, such as publications. The MDC team is doing so by finding alternative ways of gauging reach, measuring impact for data, and building data level metrics (DLMs). The MDC project plans to not just focus on citations and usage but also building out a technical hub so that information does not get left behind as it can with article. As the field gets more mature we expect metrics and usage stats to be fed into the DLM hub. Partnering with COUNTER, the project team has drafted the first iteration of a COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data surrounding data usage statistics for community input. In conjunction, the project has been focusing on building out a DLM hub using Lagotto (DataCite), and will be enlisting the cooperation of the research, library, funder, and publishing stakeholder communities to implement DLMs across DataCite repositories and drive adoption of DLMs.

3:15pm – 3:30pm Break

3:30pm – 4:00pm Metrics and Altmetrics in the Administration of Higher Ed


Darby Orcutt

Assistant Head, Collections & Research Strategy
North Carolina State University

Shifting our perspective to a bird's eye view, this session will discuss current practices and future possibilities regarding the use of metrics and altmetrics in university-level strategy and decision-making. How could and should such metrics be used? How can libraries most effectively and appropriately consider their roles in this area? Special consideration will be given to the need and challenge of developing metrics for interdisciplinary research.

4:00pm – 4:30pm Future Directions: Measuring the Impact of Scholarly Research through Usage


4:30pm – 5:00 pm Wrap-Up Discussion


Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, December 6, 2017 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact to provide alternate contact information.
  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.
  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.