Two articles by Aalto University researchers were ranked among the most discussed science news items in the world in 2014. News articles on the discovery of magnetic monopoles and a study about where emotions are felt in the body climbed into the top 100 on Altmetric.com. The study of magnetic monopoles ranks 18th on the list for 2014, while the research into bodily mapping of emotions is in 20th place.
Supplementing traditional citation metrics, altmetrics is a new way of attempting to indicate the impact of scholarly publications, especially outside the academic community. The attention received by a study is measured by the number of distinct references of various kinds on the Web, in social media, etc. – such as science news pieces, blog posts, tweets, article views or downloads, video views, occurrences of saving with Web-based reference management software, and software source code reuse.
Altmetric.com is the world’s best-known altmetrics company. It is funded by, for example, Macmillan Publishers, the publisher of Nature. The company tracks citations in diverse channels and uses this information to determine a numerical value for each scientific article, for purposes of rankings. Some scientific publishers’ Web sites have begun citing the altmetrics rankings achieved by their articles. This practice has been adopted by publishers such as Springer, Wiley, Elsevier, and Nature Publishing Group. The altmetrics commercial service emerged early in the 2000s to provide a new way of following the impact of science in an interconnected world. The main idea behind the company is that today science can reach anyone who uses the Internet. The service does not normalise citations within disciplines.
The most popular news article from Aalto University on the Web reported that researchers had created a synthetic magnetic monopole in laboratory conditions. This proved the existence of magnetic monopoles in nature. A method developed by Adjunct Professor and Academy Research Fellow Mikko Möttönen identified a synthetic particle whose existence has been universally assumed even though it has never been detected. Around 200 media, around the world, have reported on this news.
Maps of bodily sensations have been developed on the basis of researchers’ analysis of what kinds of bodily sensations people say they feel in connection with various emotions and in which regions of the body those emotions are felt. The study was carried out in Europe and Asia. According to the results reported in the scientific article on the study, by Lauri Nummenmaa, the bodily sensations aroused by emotions are very similar across cultural boundaries. This news has been reported by more than 400 media outlets, around the world.
Researchers can improve the altmetric score of their articles by sharing them on Twitter, blogs, and Web sites dedicated to research results. Publishing videos and pictures connected with the study also improves an article’s altmetric score.
The Aalto Library has its own altmetric database
The Aalto University Library has compiled a database that can be used to track the dissemination of research articles in various environments. The database contains the publications originating at Aalto University from 2007 onward. Articles can be tracked with the DOI identifier used in the Web of Science (WoS) service of Thomson Reuters: https://ttso.shinyapps.io/AaltoAltmSince2007/
Further information about the measurement methods used by Altmetric.com:
A news article about the bodily maps: http://www.aalto.fi/en/current/news/2013-12-31/
A news article about the magnetic monopoles: http://www.aalto.fi/en/current/current_archive/news/2014-01-29/