Scientific Reputation Metrics

As follow-up to this post, I read a great piece by Richard Price. It describes the failings and costs of the traditional scientific publishing model, and why these are driven the development of new metrics to track academic success.

To break out of the tragedy of the commons, new reputation metrics, developed by a number of startups, have been developed that incentivize scientists to share their research openly, rather than incentivizing them to put their research behind a paywall. Scientists are adopting them to better stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. Examples of these new reputation metrics include inbound citation counts, readership metrics and follower counts.

He predicts that most scientific journals will eventually disappear, as scientists' reputations depend less on where they publish, and more on their public profile.

I'm not as sure of this last statement as Richard is. I feel most Journals will move to an open access model and will gradually lower their up-front publication charges.

Citations, Impact Factors and Social Media

Google Scholar has come up with an interesting new way to keep track of citations to your work. And by doing that, indirectly keep up to date with new publications in your niche.

Here's my link as an example.

As we approach the REF2014, I imagine that measures of articles like citation numbers, and the impact factor of the journals where we publish our work will be taken into account, although it's not clear which metrics will be used.

Cambridge University is using Symplectic to collate REF returns for each scientist.

A recent addition this area is the collation of social media activity relating to publications, including Facebook, twitter and blog mentions. These are pulled from Altmetric.

As a proponent of social media and science, I like where this is heading. The 'traditional' channels for discussion of scientific research are being used less often than before (letters the the editor anyone?), and and tweets, retweets and buzz around conference presentation are on the rise.