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Scholarly Metrics & Publishing: Alt-Metrics

A guide to secondary research, analysis of scholarship, alt-metrics, citation, open access publishing and academic author rights.

Foley Resources: Journal Metadata

Foley provides many tools for evaluating journals and allowing researchers to examine journal metadata. 

Publish or Perish: a free program summarizing journal metadata

The free program Publish or Perish is "a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar and (since release 4.1) Microsoft Academic Search to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these and presents the following metrics:

  • Total number of papers and total number of citations
  • Average citations per paper, citations per author, papers per author, and citations per year
  • Hirsch's h-index and related parameters
  • Egghe's g-index
  • The contemporary h-index
  • Three variations of individual h-indices
  • The average annual increase in the individual h-index
  • The age-weighted citation rate
  • An analysis of the number of authors per paper."

Having these various metrics available for free is especially useful for institutions like Gonzaga, which do not have access to ISI's Journal Citation Reports and the Journal Impact Factor. However, Google Scholar provides different coverage of the literature than does ISI, making the usefulness of the tool vary by discipline. From Publish or Perish:

"Although for reasons discussed in detail in Google Scholar - a new data source for citation analysis the use of Google Scholar generally provides a higher citation count than ISI, this might not be true for all fields of studies.

  • The Social sciences, Arts and Humanities, and engineering in particular seem to benefit from Google Scholar's better coverage of (citations in) books, conference proceedings and a wider range of journals.
  • The Natural and Health Sciences are generally well covered in ISI and hence Google Scholar might not always provide higher citation counts. In addition, for some disciplines in the Natural and Health Sciences Google Scholar's journal coverage seems to be patchy. This leads to citation counts in these areas that might even be lower than those in ISI.

As a general rule of thumb, we would suggest that using Google Scholar might be most beneficial for three of the Google Scholar categories:

  1. Business, Administration, Finance & Economics;
  2. Engineering, Computer Science & Mathematics;
  3. Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities."

For more on Publish or Perish, see the Slideshare presentation Citation Analysis: From Publication to Impact, by Anne-Wil Harzing from University of Melbourne.

Alt-Metrics: Measuring the Impact of Scholarship

The advent of social media and web analytics have opened the door to new possibilities in exporing and quantifying the impact a journal makes. Many services and university research projects have successfully employed Web 2.0 tools to the evaluation of scholarly publications. Here are a few research groups that offer tools dealing with alternative scholarly metrics.