Farewell to Stacy

We’ve made a lot of happy announcements here on our blog, but today we’re making a sad one: Friday was Stacy’s last day at Impactstory. We’re eliminating our Director of Marketing position, because we need to focus significantly less on marketing and significantly more on finding product-market fit. We’re at a point where we must double down on understanding our users’ needs, and building the product it takes to meet them.

Stacy accomplished amazing things at Impactstory.  Here are just a few:

  • Turned our blog into the top source of information on altmetrics (not just our opinion…we’ve had lots of folks tell us this) for thousands of readers
  • Authored a terrific free e-book on how to raise the profile of scholars’ research
  • Created and ran our successful Advisor program, which is now comprised of researchers and librarians from all over the world
  • Quintupled our followers on Twitter

Stacy is amazing. She’s smart, thorough, engaging, and a terrific combination of idealistic and practical. We’re so proud to have worked beside her.

Impactstory is going to move forward. We’re going to keep learning, keep improving, and we’re ultimately going to transform the world of scholarly communication–thanks in part to the great work that Stacy’s done. That’ll happen. But today, we miss our teammate, and our friend.


PS If you want to hire someone awesome, drop Stacy a line at stacykonkiel@fastmail.fm. Drop us a line and we’ll tell you in more detail just how awesome she is.


Starting today, Impactstory profiles will cost $5/month. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

Starting today, Impactstory profiles cost $5 per month.

Why? Because our goal has always been for Impactstory to support a second scientific revolution, transforming how academia finds, shares, understands, and rewards research impact. That’s why we’re a nonprofit, and always will be. But (news flash), that transformation is not going to happen overnight. We need a sustainability model that can grow with us, beyond our next year of Sloan and NSF funding. This is that model.

So what does five bucks a month buy you? It buys you the best place in the world to learn and share your scholarly impact. It buys you a profile not built on selling your personal data, or cramming your page with ads, our ability to hustle up more funding, or a hope that Elsevier buys us (nonprofits don’t get acquired).

Five bucks buys you a profile built on a simple premise: we’ll deliver real, practical value to real researchers, every day. And we’ll do it staying a nonprofit that’s fiercely committed to independence, openness, and transparency. Want to fork our app and build a better one? Awesome, here’s all our code. Want access to the data behind your profile? Of course: it’s one click away, in JSON or CSV, as open as we can make it. And that ain’t changing. It’s who we are.

We’ve talked to a lot of users that feel $5/month is a fair deal. Which is great; we agree. But we know some folks may feel differently, and that’s great too. Because if you’re in that second group, we want to hear from you. We’re passionate about building the online profile you do think is worth $5 a month. In fact, we’re doing a huge round of interviews right now…if you’ve got ideas, drop us a line at team@impactstory.org and we’ll schedule a chat. Let’s change the world, together.

New signups will get a 14-day free trial. If you’re a user now, you’ll also get a 14-day trial; plus if you subscribe you’ll get a cool  “Impactstory: Early Adopter” sticker for your laptop. If you’re in a spot where you can’t afford five bucks a month, we understand.  We’ve got a no-questions-asked waiver; just drop us a line showing us how you’re linking to your Impactstory profile in your email signature and we’ll send you a coupon for a free account.

We’re nervous about this change in some ways; it’s not exactly what we’d imagined for Impactstory from the beginning. But we’re confident it’s the right call, and we’re excited about the future. We’re changing the world. And we’re delivering concrete value to users. And we’re not gonna stop.

Is your CV as good as you are?


When’s the last time you updated your CV?

Adding new papers to a CV is a real pain, and it gets is worse as we start publishing more types of products more often — preprints, code, slides, posters, and so on.  A stale CV reveals an incomplete, dated, less-good version of ourselves — at just the moment when we want to put our best foot forward.

Starting today, Impactstory helps you keep your online identity up to date — we’ve begun automatically finding and adding your new research products to your impact profile, so you don’t have to!

You can now connect your other online accounts to Impactstory in a few seconds. We’ll then watch those accounts; when new products appear there, they’ll automatically show up in your Impactstory profile, too.  Right now you can connect your GitHub, figshare, SlideShare, and ORCID accounts, but that’s just the beginning; we’ll be adding lots more in the coming months. We’re especially excited about adding ways to keep your scholarly articles up-to-date, like Google Scholar does.

Do you want to fill the gaps in your CV with an up-to-date, comprehensive picture of your research and its impact? There’s no better way than with an Impactstory profile. Our signup process is smoother than ever, give it a go!

Top 5 altmetrics trends to watch in 2014

Last year was an exciting one for altmetrics. But it’s history. We were recently asked: what’s 2014 going to look like? So, without further ado, here are our top 5 trends to watch:

Openness: This is just part of a larger trend toward open science–something altmetrics is increasingly (and aptly) identified with. In 2013, it became more clear than ever before that we’re winning the fight for universal OA. Since metrics are qualitatively more valuable when we verify, share, remix, and build on them, we see continued progress toward making both  traditional and novel metrics more open. But closedness still offers quick monetization, and so we’ll see continued tension here.

Acquisitions by the old guard: Last year saw the big players start to move in the altmetrics space, with EBSCO getting Plum Analytics, and Elsevier grabbing Mendeley. In 2014 we’ll likely see more high-profile altmetrics acquisitions, as established megacorps attempt to hedge their bets against industry-destabilizing change.  We’re not against this, per se; it’s a sign that altmetrics are quickly coming of age. But we also think it underscores the importance of having a nonprofit, scientist-run altmetrics provider, too.

More complex modelling: Lots of money got invested in altmetrics in 2013. This year it’ll get spent, largely on improving the descriptive power of altmetrics tools. We’ll see more network-awareness (who tweeted or cited your paper? how authoritative are they?), more context mining (is your work cited from methods or discussion sections?), more visualization (show me a picture of all my impacts this month), more digestion (are there three or four dimensions that can represent my “scientific personality?”), more composite indices (maybe high Mendeley plus low Facebook is likely to be cited later, but high on both not so much). The low-hanging altmetrics fruit–thing like simply counting tweets–are increasingly plucked. In 2014 we’ll see the beginning of what comes next.

Growing interest from administrators and funders: We gave multiple invited talks at the NSF, NIH, and White House this year to folks highly placed in the research funding ecosystem. These leaders are keenly aware of the shortcomings of traditional impact assessment, and eager to supplement it with new data. Administrators too want to tell more meaningful, textured stories about faculty impact. So in 2014, we’ll see several grant, hiring, and T&P guidelines suggest applicants include altmetrics when relevant.

Empowered scientists: But this interest from the scholarly communications superstructure is tricky. Historically, metrics of scholarly impact have often been wielded as technologies of control: reductionist, Taylorist management tools. There’s been concern that more metrics will only tighten this control. That’s not misplaced. But nor is it the only story: we believe 2014 will also see the emergence of the opposite trend. As scientists use tools like Impactstory to gather, analyze, and share their own stories, comprehensive metrics become a way for them to articulate more textured, honest narratives of impact in decisive, authoritative terms. Altmetrics will give scientists growing opportunities to show they’re more than their h-indices.

And there you have it, our top five altmetrics trends for 2014. Are we missing any? Let us know in the comments!

What level of Open Access scholar are you?

Today is a feast for Open Access fans at Impactstory!

Your scholarship is more valuable when it’s available to everyone: free to be widely read, discussed, and used.  Realizing this, funders increasingly mandate that articles be made freely available, and OA journals and repositories make it increasingly easy.

And today at Impactstory, we make it visible!

Where your articles have free fulltext available somewhere online, your Impactstory profile now links straight to it (we’ve found many of these automatically, but you can add links manually, too). Now along with seeing the impacts of your work, folks checking out your profile can read the papers themselves.

But openness is more than just a handy bonus: it’s an essential qualification for a modern scholar. That’s why there’s growing interest in finding good ways to report on scholars’ openness–and it’s why we’re proud to be rolling out new Open Access awards. If 10% of your articles are OA (gold or green), you get an Open Access badge at the top of your profile. For the more dedicated, there are Bronze (30% OA) and Silver (50%) award levels. The elite OA vanguard with over 80% OA articles get the coveted Gold-level award. So…which award did you get? How open are you? Check Impactstory to find out!

To celebrate the launch, we’re giving away this awesome “i ♥ OA” tshirtfeaturing the now-classic OA icon and our new logo, to one randomly-drawn Bronze or higher level OA scholar on Monday.

Don’t have a Bronze level award yet? Want to see some more of those “unlocked” icons on your profile?  Great! Just start uploading those preprints to get improve your OA level, and get your chance for that t-shirt. 🙂

Finally, we’ve saved the most exciting Impactstory OA news for last: we’ll also be sending one of these new t-shirts to Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC.  Why? Well, partly because she is and has been one of the OA movement’s most passionate, strategic, and effective leaders. But, more to the point, because we’re absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Heather to Impactstory’s Board of Directors.  Heather joins John Wilbanks on our board, filling the vacancy left by Cameron Neylon as his term ends.  Welcome Heather!

Bringing article fulltext to your Impactstory profile

Your work’s impact helps define your identity as a scientist; that’s why we’re so excited about being the world’s most complete impact profile. But of course the content of your work is a key part of your identity, too.

This week, we’re launching a feature that’ll bring that content to your Impactstory profile: if there’s a free fulltext version of one of your articles, we’ll find it and automatically link to it from your profile.

We’ll be automatically checking tons of places to find where an article’s freely available:

  • Is the article in PMC?
  • Is it published in a journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals?
  • Is it published in a journal considered “open access” by Mendeley?
  • Does PubMed LinkOut to a free and full-text resource version?
  • If it’s in none of these, is it in our custom-built list of other open sources (including arXiv, figshare, and others)?

Of course, even with all these checks, we’re going to miss some sources–especially self-archiving in institutional repositories. So we’ll be improving our list over time, and you’ll be able to easily add your own linkouts when we miss them.

We’re excited to pull all this together; it’s another big step toward making your Impactstory profile a great place to share your scholarly identity online. Look for the release in a few days!

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.