Welcome to our new hire: Stacy Konkiel!

We’re thrilled to announce that Stacy Konkiel will be joining Impactstory as our Director of Marketing and Research.

Stacy has been in the altmetrics vanguard from the beginning, contributing to PLOS’s early article-level metrics working group, and championing the use of altmetrics in libraries as part of her recent role as Science Data Management Librarian at Indiana University.

Stacy’s communication skills, credibility in the open science and altmetrics communities and–most importantly–her real passion for improving scholarly communication make her the perfect fit at Impactstory. We’re elated to have Stacy as our first hire.

More details to come when Stacy starts in March… we’re just really excited and couldn’t wait to share the news 🙂

Who’s the tweetedest?

Formal citations are important, but it’s the informal interactions that really power the scientific conversation. Impactstory helps our users observe these. And since Monday, they’ve been able to observe them a lot more clearly: adding Twitter data from Altmetric.com has significantly improved our coverage, to the point where we’re confident saying Impactstory is most comprehensive source of scholar-level Twitter data in the world.

We wanted to play with all this data a little, so we thought it’d be fun to find the three most tweeted scholars on Impactstory.  Congrats to Ethan White, Ruibang Luo, and Brian Nosek: y’all are the Most Tweeted, with nearly 1000 tweets each mentioning your research papers, preprints, and datasets!

But of course, while these numbers are impressive they’re far from the whole story. By diving into the content of individual tweets, we can learn a lot more.

For instance, Ethan posted a grant proposal on figshare. This isn’t a traditional paper; it’s not even cited (yet). It’s not helping Ethan’s h-index. But it is making an impact, and looking at Twitter can help us see how. Zooming in, we can find this take from @ATredennick, a PhD candidate in ecology at Colorado State:

Thanks @ethanwhite for posting successful NSF proposal, http://bit.ly/MeKXsP . Very useful for early-career scientists.

That’s one tweet; there are 53 others for this product. Now we’re looking beyond simple counts and starting to tell data-driven stories–stories we’d never see otherwise.

Right now we’re only linking to a subset of tweets for each product, but we’re working to add the ability to see all of ‘em. We’re also going to be bringing data about tweet locations and authors (are you being tweeted by a fellow scientist? a blogger? your labmates?) right into your profile. If you’ve got other ideas for Twitter features, let us know!

In the meantime: congrats again to Brian, Ruibang, and Ethan! We’ll be sending them each a swag bag with an Impactstory “I am more than my h-index” tshirt, and stickers featuring our new logo.

Want to find who’s tweeting your science? Make your profile to find out!

Topsy ending data access

Last month, the Twitter data provider Topsy was acquired by Apple. No one seems real clear on what Apple tends to do with their new acquisition, but we can tell you what they won’t be doing: continuing to provider our Twitter data. They’ve informed us this service is being turned off early next month.

Thankfully, we’d already started looking into switching to Altmetric.com as our Twitter data provider. Not only are they still, you know, in business–they also offer significantly improved coverage of most research products.

However, Topsy’s exit does have implications for you, our users. First, although our twitter tracking for scholarly articles, preprints and datasets has improved thanks to Altmetric.com, we’re losing our ability to track tweets on other kinds of products like github and slideshare. Second, we need to disable our Twitter and WordPress Blog products: they relied heavily on Topsy data. Tweets and blog posts will stop displaying on profiles in the next few days.

We’re disappointed about losing these features. We know you loved those features and we did too.  As many folks have pointed out, one of the key challenges of altmetrics is securing persistent, open access to data (the same is true, for that matter, of bibliometrics in general). So we’ve planned for this sort of thing, but it’s still no fun.

The good news is that we’re still committed to these features, especially getting great impact metrics for users’ blogs and Twitter feeds. We’re looking into several replacement approaches now, and we’re optimistic. A lot depends on how much demand we get, so we can decide where to prioritize these. As always, if it matter to you, let us know; we’ll listen.

New Impactstory Logo

new-impactstory-logo-no-typeWe’re excited to announce a new logo–and a chance to win a free shirt!

The new logo reflects our focus on building great impact profiles for individual scientists: the “i” in the middle stands for Impactstory of course, but it’s also the first-person pronoun. Your Impactstory profile is about you. We’re building something to represent you, the working scientist, better than anything else out there. It’s a place for information (hence the i-with-a-circle-around it iconography), but also identity.

Identity in science is pretty broken. In several ways, but one of the biggest is our growing reliance on one-dimensional, reductive currencies like the h-index and Impact Factor. We’re fixing that. Impactstory’s a place where you can tell your whole impact story, where your identity is more than a number. You are more than your h-index. We’ll be focusing hard on this message this year.

Finally, we love our new logo because it anticipates important upcoming features and product focus (Spoiler Alert!). We’re going to be adding a growing number of features that recognize scientific excellence along multiple dimensions, highlighting areas where our users are winning–the badge-esque scallops on the logo reflect these upcoming features.

To celebrate our new logo, we’re going to send out a cool new “I am more than my h-index” tshirt to a lucky Impactstory user — we’ll do a random drawing Friday of everybody who visits their profile this week.  We’re also happy to send some brand new stickers to anyone who wants them… drop us a line at team@impactstory.org and we’ll get some out to you.

Impactstory partners with Altmetric.com

We’re thrilled to announce that starting today, Impactstory will be buying a new data stream: Twitter, G+, and Facebook data from Altmetric.com.

Altmetric have spent years working on the thorny problem of connecting tweets with articles. It’s a tough one: papers may be referred to by a dozen different URLs, a DOI, an arXiv ID, and more. But Altmetric have gotten very good at it–at this point, we believe they’re the best in the world. The upshot? Impactstory’s Twitter coverage just got way better. If you’ve got a profile, check it out: there’s a good chance you’ll see new tweets we hadn’t found before.

Along with tweets, we’ll also be leveraging Altmetric’s infrastructure to find mentions in several brand new environments. Is your scholarship being discussed on Reddit, g+, or Facebook? Starting today, Impactstory will let you know.

This is a big win for our users–both because you’ll see cool new data, and because the Impactstory development team can focus hard on adding features where we add the most value. It’s also kind of a cool moment for the nascent industry growing around altmetrics…we’re all starting to mature, focus, and build around our unique advantages.

Last but not least, Jason and Heather are both happy to be working with Altmetric’s founder and CEO, Euan Adie. He gets the Web, he gets how it’s transforming scholarship, and he’s a legit class act and good guy. So here’s to Euan, here’s to more and better data, and here’s to a successful and productive partnership!

Edit your products’ titles and authors

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 1.43.39 PMImpactstory does a lot behind the scenes to find relevant metadata for new products; unfortunately, however, we’re only as good here as the data we can find from publishers, Mendeley, and other sources. And sometimes this data’s wrong.

Consequently, one of our top-voted feature requests has been manual editing of titles and author lists, so folks can fix mistakes. We’re happy to announce that today we’re rolling this feature out: just log in to your profile, click the product you want to edit, and then click the “edit” button.

We’re working hard to make Impactstory a place that really represents our users, a place they can explain and show off their identity as scholars. We’ve still got a ways to go in making that vision a reality, but features like this, that you let you fine-tune the look of your profile, are a great start.

Altmetrics: A “bibliometric nightmare?”

Our growing user base stays pretty excited about using altmetrics to tell better stories about their impacts, and we’re passionate about helping them do it better. So while we both love discussing altmetrics’ pros and cons, we prefer to err on the side of doing over talking, so we don’t blog about it much.

But we appreciated David Colquhoun’s effort to get a discussion going around his recent blog post, so are jotting down a few quick thoughts here in response. It was an interesting read, in part because David may imagine we disagree a lot more than we in fact do.

We agree that bibliometrics is a tricky and complicated topic; folks have been arguing about the applicability and validity of citation mining for many decades now [paywall], in much more detail than either David or we have time to cover completely. But what’s sure is that usage of citation-based metrics like the Impact Factor has become deeply pathological.

That’s why we’re excited to be promoting a conversation reexamining metrics of science, a conversation asking if academia as an institution is really measuring what’s meaningful. And of course the answer is: no. Not yet.  So, as an institution, we need to (1) stop pretending we are and (2) start finding ways to do better. At its core, this what altmetrics is all about–not Twitter or any other particular platform. And we’re just getting started.

We couldn’t agree more that post-publication peer-review is the future of scholarly communication. We think altmetrics will be an important part of this future, too. Scientists won’t have time to Read All The Things in the future, any more than they do now. Future altmetrics systems–especially as we begin to track who discusses papers in various environments, and what they’ve said–will help digest, report, flag, and attract expert assessments, making a publish-than-review ecosystem practical. Even today lists like the Altmetric top 100 can help attract expert review like David’s to the highly shared papers where it’s particularly needed.

We agree that a TL;DR culture does science no favors. That’s why we’re enthusiastic about the potential of social media and open review platforms to help science move beyond the formalized swap meet of journal publishing, on to actual in-depth conversations. It’s why we’re excited about making research conversation, data, analysis, and code first-class scholarly objects that fit into the academic reward system. It’s time to move beyond the TL;DR of the article, and start telling the whole research story.

So we’re happy that David agrees we must “give credit for all forms of research outputs, not only papers.” Although of course, not everyone agrees with David or Jason or Heather. We hear from lots of researchers that they’ve got an uphill battle arguing their datasets, blog posts, code, and other products are really making an impact. And we also hear that Impactstory’s normalized usage, download, and other data helps them make their point, and we’re pretty happy about that. Our data could be a lot more effective here (and stay tuned, we’ve got some features rolling out for this…), but it’s a start. And starts are important.

So are discussions. So thanks, David, for sharing your thoughts on this, and sorry we don’t have time to engage more deeply on it. If you’re ever in Vancouver, drop us a line and we’ll buy you a beer and have a Proper Talk :). And thanks to everyone else in this growing community for keeping great discussions on open science, web-native scholarship, and altmetrics going!

Profiles are getting faster

Our mantra here is to ship features quickly and optimize ’em later. And after spending a lot of frustrated time waiting for profiles to load (especially very large profiles), we decided it was officially “later” and set out to improve profile loading times last week.

We ended up moving a lot of the rendering code from Javascript to Python, where it’s both faster and more maintainable, and doing some caching. The result: profiles like Heather’s are now loading around five seconds faster; bigger profiles will see even larger improvements. The difference is especially pronounced when you switch back and forth between viewing the profile and zooming in to individual products: the return trip is now almost instant, which we’re really happy about.

There’s still a lot of room to improve loading times, especially on the first profile load, but we’re going to wait on this for now, at least until we get feedback requesting faster loads. That means we’ll be able to turn our attention to shipping new features…we’ve got some coming up next week we can’t wait to show y’all!

ImpactStory in 2013: by the numbers

ImpactStory

Happy New Year, everybody!

We’ve pulled together a quick year end review with fun ImpactStory facts and milestones from 2013.  Check it out, share it, and make a profile if you haven’t already.  We look forward to working together to make 2014 even better!

you asked, you got it: support for arXiv IDs

We love requests for new ImpactStory features.  The second-most requested feature at feedback.impactstory.org has been support for arXiv IDs.  So, starting today, you’ve got’em!

You can import your preprints by arXiv id — we’ll retrieve the title and author list, then look up all the metrics we can find.  Interestingly, arXiv is actively against sharing download stats, but maybe with enough encouragement from you they’ll update their policy?

Thanks for everyone who took the time to vote on the feature, and keep those requests coming!