Project: Measuring the societal impact of open science

As citation-based research evaluation is increasingly criticized (e.g., the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, DORA), some alternative or complementary sources of data about research impact are being investigated under the umbrella term altmetrics. The idea and potential with altmetrics is that the mentions and other indicators of visibility and awareness a research article and other research products receive on the web and in social media could tell something about the impact or influence of that research. By investigating novel online data sources for mentions of research products we are able to obtain a more nuanced understanding of where and how research has had an impact.

The idea with altmetrics is closely related to the Open Science movement, partly because altmetrics are mostly derived from open access research products. On the other hand, while the open science movement still lacks the incentives for individual researchers to adopt some of the ideology of the movement, which in turn hinders the rapid assimilation of it, altmetrics could bring some of the lacking incentives by providing novel indicators for attention, visibility and impact.

This research project will 1) develop methods to identify, track, and investigate the societal impact of Finnish research, and 2) display and visualize the current state of research in Finland using altmetric research methods and data. By developing methods and tools to investigate altmetrics in the context of Finnish research this project will result in a refined understanding of the impact of Finnish research and create incentives for researchers to adopt the open science movement.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland.