Baltimore, MD - September 22, 2016 - The National Information Standards
Organization has published NISO RP-25-2016, Outputs of the NISO Alternative
Assessment Project
This recommended practice on altmetrics, an expansion of the tools
available for measuring the scholarly impact of research in the knowledge
environment, was developed by working groups that were part of NISO's
Altmetrics Initiative, a project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The document outlines altmetrics definitions and use cases, alternative
outputs in scholarly communications, data metrics, and persistent
identifiers in scholarly communications. This guidance was necessary
because, before the project began, scholars had long expressed
dissatisfaction with traditional measures of success, such as the Impact
Factor, but needed standards relating to other viable assessment methods.

Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Project represents the
culmination of work that began with brainstorming sessions in 2013 and that
included multiple in-person and virtual meetings, a white paper, conference
presentations that gathered community input, and votes on draft documents
by NISO's voting membership. The effort built on NISO's strength as a
consensus-seeking organization to bring multiple perspectives, nuances, and
needs into one set of recommendations upon which the scholarly community
can rely. Scholars will find that the recommended practice addresses
high-level ideas, such as the need for guidance on altmetrics, but also
provides granular information on such topics as how the various
metrics-providing vendors generate their data. Users of metrics will also
find templates for starting work at their own institutions, as the intent
is for the recommended practice to make altmetrics more widely used and
more approachable than previously. Institutions can begin to apply these
new metrics with greater confidence in their development, data gathering,
and application.

"NISO is proud to contribute to the advancement of new assessment forms
that encourage extensions of scholarly communication forms and methods,"
said Executive Director Todd Carpenter. "Over the past three years, we have
been able to bring together experts from throughout the scholarly
publishing and assessment communities to expand the toolset available to
review the impact of researchers' work. Consensus-building is always a
challenging endeavor, but it is considerably more so in a domain that could
influence important advancement, funding, and recognition decisions. The
thoughts around altmetrics when we began this initiative in 2013 were only
vaguely formed. It has been exciting to watch the project grow from very
nascent understandings of altmetrics, to a place of greater understanding
of just how rich altmetrics are and how they can be applied." Carpenter
continued, "it's my hope that the recommendations that our working groups
so carefully crafted will guide users toward optimal uses of the newly
available data that can be such a benefit to their careers and

Euan Adie, Founder and CEO, Altmetric, commented that, "We had some
misgivings at the beginning of the process [in 2013] as it seemed too early
for stakeholders or providers to contribute in a meaningful way, but
actually the results turned out to be sensible and useful. NISO very ably
guided the process and I don't think the community could have pulled
anything like this together without them. The market has responded very
positively, and in my opinion what got produced is helping both the
understanding and uptake of alternative metrics. Furthermore, from a
supplier's perspective, the Data Quality Code of Conduct has been very
useful to lay down ground rules for future product development."

"The NISO Altmetrics project was announced at a time when the field was
still in a very active stage of development," noted Mike Taylor, formerly
Senior Product Manager, Informetrics, Elsevier, and now Head of Metrics
Development, Digital Science. "Despite that," he observed, "the project
enabled experts in the community to have structured conversations around
(a) what work was in a sufficiently mature state to publish
recommendations, (b) what emerging behavior and research outputs were
sufficiently similar to existing ones to 'borrow' standards, (c) what
indicators about data quality could be usefully published, and (d) tackling
some of the issues of emerging vocabulary." Taylor continued, "For me, one
of the important outcomes was the opportunity to link many diverse and
unconnected working groups into a developing network of stakeholders. There
will be much future work to emerge from this network."

*About the National Information Standards Organization (NISO)*
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate
the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of
information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To
fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information
aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and
scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of
knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across
the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit
association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
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