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Altmetrics: Tracking scholarly impact on the social Web – PLoS ONE Collection

The huge increase in scientific output is presenting scholars with a deluge of data.  There is growing concern that scholarly output may be swamping traditional mechanisms for both pre-publication filtering (e.g. peer review) and post-publication impact filtering (e.g. the Journal Impact Factor).

Increasing scholarly use of Web 2.0 tools like CiteULike, Mendeley, Twitter, and blogs presents an opportunity to create new filters.  Metrics based on a diverse set of social sources could yield broader, richer, and timelier assessments of current and potential scholarly impact.  Realizing this, many authors have begun to call for investigation of these metrics under the banner of “altmetrics.”  Specifically, altmetrics is the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing and informing scholarship.

Despite the growing speculation and early exploratory investigation into the value of altmetrics, there remains little concrete, objective research into the properties of these metrics: their validity, their potential value and flaws, and their relationship to established measures. Nor has there been any large umbrella to bring these multiple approaches together.

Following on from a first successful workshop on altmetrics, this collection aims to provide a forum for the dissemination of innovative research on these metrics.

We seek high quality submissions that advance the understanding of the efficacy of altmetrics, addressing research areas including:

  • Validated new metrics based on social media.
  • Tracking science communication on the Web.
  • Relation between traditional metrics and altmetrics including validation and correlation.
  • The relationship between peer review and altmetrics.
  • Evaluated tools for gathering, analyzing, or disseminating altmetrics.

Papers will be reviewed on a rolling basis in-line with PLoS ONE standard practices.

Please note that all submissions submitted before January 28th, 2012 will be considered for the launch of the collection (expected spring 2012); submissions after this date will still be considered for the collection, but may not appear in the collection at launch.

Submission Guidelines

If you wish to submit your research to the Altmetrics: Tracking scholarly impact on the social Web Collection, please consider the following when preparing your manuscript:

– All articles must adhere to the PLoS ONE submission guidelines.

– Standard PLoS ONE policies and publication fees apply to all submissions.

– Submission to PLoS ONE as part of the Altmetrics Collection does not guarantee publication.

When you are ready to submit your manuscript to the collection, please log in to the PLoS ONE manuscript submission system and insert ‘Altmetrics’ in the relevant field to ensure the PLoS ONE staff are aware of your submission to the Collection.  Once you have registered, you can follow the steps for manuscript submission.

Please contact Lindsay King ( if you would like further information about how to submit your research to the PLoS ONE Altmetrics Collection.


Paul Groth, VU University Amsterdam

Dario Taraborelli, Wikimedia Foundation

Jason Priem, UNC-Chapel Hill

About PLoS ONE

PLoS ONE (eISSN-1932-6203) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.  PLoS ONE welcomes reports on primary research from any scientific discipline.

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