Special Topics: Measuring the Impact of Altmetrics

The special topic calls for papers on Measuring the Impact of Altmetrics and such papers will appear in Studies in Sociology of Science as a special column.

Affiliated research area: Influence of a Journal or Scientist, the Model of Altmetrics, One Newly Developed Method


There is a growing movement within the scientific establishment to better measure and reward all the different ways that people contribute to the messy and complex process of scientific progress.
 —Samuel Arbesman, Wired

How do you measure the influence of a journal or scientist? Until recently that question was largely settled. For a journal, you could turn to the  impact factor (or IF), which determines the relative importance of a journal within its field by looking at how many times its articles get cited in other journals relative to the total number of articles it publishes. PageRank (predating and loosely related to the famous PageRank algorithm used by the Google search engine) is a kind of IF measure that gives greater weight to journals with high impact; a similar measure is the Eigen factor score created by the evolutionary biologist Carl T. Bergstrom. For an individual scientist, you could calculate his or her h-index (in which h of the scientist’s total number of papers have received at least h citations).

Lately, however, scholars have become increasingly disenchanted with these and similar bibleometric indicators that use such values as total number of articles published or total number of citations. They complain that traditional measures of scientific impact are too slow and too narrow to accurately reflect science in the Internet age.

Enter, then, the new field of article level metrics or, as it is increasingly known, altmetrics. This blend of alternative and metrics refers to tools based on bookmarks, links, blog posts, tweets, and other online measures that presumably indicate ways that readers have been influenced by an article—in short, how much “buzz” the paper is generating online.


In addition to the Review and Original Articles by invited speakers, we are inviting you to submit a relevant research paper on Measuring the Impact of Altmetrics for consideration. Papers will be subject to normal peer review and must comply with the Guide for Authors.

To submit papers to the “Measuring the Impact of Altmetrics” Special Topic, please go to http://www.cscanada.net. With your submission, please state clearly to the editor that your manuscripts are submitted to the Special Topic Measuring the Impact of Altmetrics.


Related Journals (Special issue):

CSCanada Studies in Sociology of Science Journal

Related Articles:

Measuring the Impact of Altmetrics By Paul McFedries