Since it was launched in 2002, COUNTER has become an established standard that librarians worldwide now use to help them assess the value and utility of the journals in their collections. COUNTER-based metrics such as ‘cost-per-download’ have been used to compare the value of journals from different vendors. Yet, in the last decade the way online journals are structured and accessed has changed significantly and we must ask if the traditional, COUNTER-based usage statistics now provide sufficient insights into the usage of today’s online journals. Researchers are, after all, developing new activities such as blogging and twittering. Should we be measuring these and other forms of activity beyond item downloads, searches, etc? Would reporting content downloads at the sub-article level provide clarity or confusion?
For an even longer period, ISI citation data have been used as a basis for measuring the impact and influence, not only of journals, but also of individual authors and their institutions. What role will citation measures have in the future?
More recently, some novel forms of impact measurement – altmetrics- have emerged, that are both impressive and startling, and which attempt to provide new insights and alternatives to traditional measures, such as the number of readers, tags used, bookmarks, comments and threads, blogging and tweets. A pioneer in this area has been PLoS, and as yet few other publishers have developed a large suite of altmetrics.
The transformation of scholarly communication into a variety of digital networked forms has created both challenges and opportunities for the evaluation of the impact of research. The aim of this pre-conference is to provide a forum for the discussion of new ways of assessing the scientific and social impact of research publications and to identify possible future directions for such metrics.