Interrogating impact: Altmetrics as indicators of influence in & beyond the academy
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An opportunity of altmetrics is to indicate influence of scholarship beyond the academy. Altmetrics offers scholars who are embracing innovation in scholarly communication - such as open access or non-traditional publishing - value that traditional metrics do not. Demonstrating knowledge mobilization and accountability are increasingly prominent features of the scholarly landscape; scholars need to understand and strategically manage available indicators of impact. Libraries have supported access to and interpretation of citation indexes, cited references, and the traditional scholarly publication cycle. The emerging scene challenges libraries to support scholars, practitioners and students to engage with an evolving environment in which much may be gained or forfeited depending on how reputation is curated. For librarians to assist scholars in this new altmetrics environment, more needs to be known about how they are or are not engaging with emerging tools available to them. Our research explores this new terrain, taking up the following questions: What should scholars/practitioners and graduate students consider when trying to establish, grow, and/or measure a scholarly presence? How do scholars/practitioners and graduate students perceive and negotiate issues related to scholarly presence? How can academic librarians assist scholars/practitioners to create, discover, and manage elements of online reputation using traditional and emerging tools? Other researchers will look critically at changing dynamics in scholarly networks, communications and institutions, and how these relate to acceptance of new technologies and models for measurement of scholarly influence. The present qualitative study based on interviews with scholars from Royal Roads and Vancouver Island Universities contributes to understanding how the work of scholars might be enhanced by expert library services related to altmetrics.