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
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 institutions."
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
"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). More information
about NISO is available on its website: http://www.niso.org.