Baffling bibliometrics

In our Insider's Insight on bibliometrics we describe each of the various bibliometric parameters that can aid you in the effective quantitative assessment of publications generated by individual researchers and research teams as well as assessing the journals themselves. We offer some thoughts from the Niche team on how you may interpret these parameters and employ them effectively.

The prestige of publication has been based on traditional citation metrics, most commonly journal impact factor. However, over the last decade a new field of study has exploded onto the scientific landscape – that of bibliometrics. Qualitative analysis of the scientific literature is changing rapidly with the creation of new evaluation tools, parameters and normative data. The Internet has radically changed the speed, flow, and sharing of medical information. In addition, the exploitation of social media, along with development of popular professional and scientific websites and blogs, has resulted in some suggesting new and alternative metrics, known as altmetrics - what value does this currently have in actual scientific research (beyond researchers promoting themselves). A recent article in the journal Clinical Spine Surgery explored the evolution of current research impact metrics and examine the evolving role of altmetrics in measuring the wider impact of research. The authors suggest that altmetrics should now form part of an informed peer-review process such as traditional metrics. Does this open the opportunity to have your mum tell the world how wonderful your research is - or is it a a valid tool for assessing the quality of publications? Should we be concerned in a post truth era?