Open Science & Altmetrics Monthly Roundup (July 2014)

Don’t have time to stay on top of the most important Open Science and Altmetrics news? We’ve gathered the very best of the month in this post. Read on!

Impactstory announces a new sustainability model: $5/month subscriptions

Last week, we announced that we’re switching our non-profit sustainability model to a subscription plan: $5 per month after a free, 14-day trial period. From the Impactstory blog:

Our goal has always been for Impactstory to support a second scientific revolution, transforming how academia finds, shares, understands, and rewards research impact. Today we believe in that goal more than ever. That’s why we’re a nonprofit, and always will be. But this 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, or our ability to hustle up more funding.

Five bucks buys you a profile built on a simple premise: we’ll deliver real, practical value to researchers, every day. And we’ll do it staying a nonprofit that’s fiercely commitment to independence, openness, and transparency.

To read the full announcement, check out last Thursday’s post.

The K(ardashian)-Index debuts

Neil Hall has caused a stir with his paper, “The Kardashian index: a measure of discrepant social media profile for scientists” published last week in Genome Biology. The tongue-in-cheek article outlines Hall’s idea for a metric that identifies scientists whose presence on Twitter isn’t matched by a record of scholarly impact, evidenced by many citations to their work. Here’s how the index works:


Where “F(a) is the actual number of twitter followers of researcher X and F(c) is the number researcher X should have given their citations.”

While many viewed Hall’s paper as being all in good fun, some are concerned that by denigrating those with more Twitter followers than would be “appropriate” given their number of citations, it reinforces the idea that a very narrow type of scholarly impact is the type of impact that matters most, above and beyond one’s ability to communicate with others about the work they’re doing.

And by making fun of the idea that there might be more flavors of impact than traditionally assumed, we disincentivize researchers from ever breaking from the conservative approaches to measuring impact–approaches that no longer fully reflect reality for those practicing web-native science.

Huge progress made on 20+ Open Science projects at Mozilla Science Global Sprint

On July 22 New Zealand Standard Time, an international team of coders and scientists began a 52-hour sprint to improve Open Science lessons and learning materials, teaching tools, and software and standards for better science. The sprint was organized by Mozilla Science and coordinated virtually across the world using collaborative notepads, video conferencing software, and GitHub. Among the improvements made to Open Science software and standards was work done on Scholarly Markdown, the Open Access Button, and reproducible research guidelines. Improvements to teaching materials included bioinformatics, medical imaging, and oceanography capstone examples for Software Carpentry courses; Data Carpentry training materials like social science examples and lessons on Excel; and a great guide to using Excel for science. For more info, including can’t-miss links to other great Open Science projects, check out the Mozilla Science blog.

Other Open Science & Altmetrics News

  • Open Notebook Science marches on at the Jean Claude Bradley Memorial Symposium: In early July, Open Science advocates gathered for a one-day symposium celebrating the life and work of Jean Claude Bradley, Open Notebook Science pioneer. Some of Open Science’s finest minds presented at the meeting, including Antony Williams (Royal Society of Chemistry) and Peter Murray-Rust (Cambridge University). For more info, including links to the presentations, visit the JCBMS wiki.

  • 1:am altmetrics conference dates announced: The organizers of London’s first altmetrics conference released meeting dates and a preliminary lineup. 1:am will be held September 25-26, 2014 at the Wellcome Collection in London. Speaking will be publisher, researcher, and institutional representatives including Jennifer Lin of PLOS, Mike Thelwall of the University of Wolverhampton, Arfon Smith of GitHub, and Sarah Callaghan of the Research Data Alliance’s Metrics working group. Impactstory will also be in (virtual) attendance, outlining our non-profit’s vision for an Open altmetrics infrastructure. Sound interesting? Check out the 1:am website for more information and to purchase tickets.

  • Digital Science-backed startups had a big month: The innovative Macmillan Publishing subsidiary, Digital Science, had two cool announcements for the Open Science community in July: they invested in Write LaTeX, the startup responsible for Overleaf, a real-time, collaborative word processing environment for authoring scientific publications; and Figshare (who Digital Science also backs) was named Wired UK’s Startup of the Week. Congrats!

  • As WSSSPE2 approaches, killer papers on software sustainability and impacts are going online: The second Working towards Sustainable Software for Science: Practice and Experiences (WSSSPE) workshop is still months away, but we’re already seeing awesome papers like this one by Dan Katz (NSF) and Arfon Smith (GitHub) on creating mechanisms for assigning credit to software creators, and this one by James Howison (University of Texas at Austin) that proposes retracting bit-rotten publications in order to incentivize researchers to keep their research software accessible and usable. It’s obvious that excellent research will be shared at WSSSPE2 in November; for more information on the conference, check out the WSSSPE2 website.

  • The 2014 Open Knowledge Festival was a resounding success: Reports from the 2014 Open Knowledge Festival came streaming in across the Internet not long after the meeting ended in mid-July. Some highlights of the coverage: the OKFestival’s own Storify feeds describe the wealth of activities that happened at the Fest; festival goers were treated to excellent company and conversation at the ScienceOpen-sponsored ice cream break; and Lou Woodley’s apt write-up of the entire Festival, which drove home the point that in-person meetings are important–they bring like-minded people together and create opportunities for collaboration that you don’t often get by watching a meeting’s livestream.

Stay connected

Speaking of “bringing like minded people together”: we share altmetrics and Open Science news as-it-happens on our Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages. And if you don’t want to miss next month’s news roundup, remember that you can sign up to get these posts and other Impactstory news delivered straight to your inbox.

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