Measuring the Societal Impact of Research with Altmetrics: An Experiment

Ursula Oberst

Abstract

All research at Dutch universities is assessed on a regular basis following the Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP). From 2015 onwards, one of the protocol’s criteria for measuring research success is the societal impact of the research. As traditional metrics do not provide an indication of public reach and influence, the African Studies Centre in Leiden (ASCL) decided to experiment with the new suite of alternative metrics – altmetrics – that measure the number of times a research output is viewed, downloaded or mentioned online. I analyzed the presence of altmetric indicators in 148 publications using Altmetric.com and evaluated the content that Altmetric.com tracked. This paper describes the ASCL Altmetric experiment and reports on its results.