December 3, 2020

Standards: NISO Launches New Development Projects in New Forms of Assessing Impact & Altmetrics

From the National Information Standards Organization:

The voting members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved four new projects to develop standards for alternative assessment metrics (altmetrics).

The NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Initiative was begun in July 2013 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation with a goal of building trust and adoption in new methods of assessing impact. Phase 1 of the project, which was completed this summer, gathered a large array of relevant stakeholder groups to identify what areas of alternative metrics would benefit most from standards-related developments. This input was distilled into a white paper published in June 2014, which was then presented to the NISO community to prioritize the action items as possible NISO work items.

Phase 2 of the project will be to develop standards or recommended practices in the prioritized areas of definitions, calculation methodologies, improvement of data quality, and use of persistent identifiers in alternative metrics. As part of each project, relevant use cases and how they apply to different stakeholder groups will be developed.

“Assessment of scholarship is a critical component of the research process, impacting everything from which projects get funded to who gains promotion and tenure, and which publications gain prominence in their fields of inquiry,” explains Martin Fenner, Technical Lead, PLOS Article Level Metrics, and Chair of the NISO Alternative Metrics Initiative Steering Committee. “However, traditional metrics that have been primarily based on print processes are failing to keep pace with both the expanded range of research outputs produced by scholars, and the diverse usage of these research outputs in scholarly communication that is increasingly purely electronic.

Altmetrics are increasingly being used and discussed as an expansion of the tools available for measuring the scholarly and social impact of research. For altmetrics to move out of its current pilot or proof-of-concept phase, we need to develop commonly used definitions and guidelines for appropriate collection and reporting of data, so that organizations who wish to utilize these metrics can adequately understand them and ensure their consistent application and meaning across the community.”

“The NISO Alternative Assessment Steering Committee will oversee several working groups that will be formed to develop the identified standards and recommended practices,” states Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Director for Programs. “For participation on these working groups, we are seeking interested participants from all the affected stakeholders including libraries, scholarly publishers, research funders (governmental and non-governmental), scholars, university departments of academic affairs, providers of alternative metrics data, and system providers who incorporate different elements of alternative metrics in their services.”

“We expect this initiative will continue to be broadly inclusive, with contributions from a diverse set of voices, who will be reliant on these new metrics and resulting tools,” said Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director. “In addition to the working group members, we also will seek broader community feedback through stakeholder interest groups. In addition, draft documents will be made available for public comment and/or trial use before finalization and publication. NISO will also schedule public webinars for further discussion and training during the development process.”

The approved proposal for the Phase 2 projects as well as the Phase 1 White Paper are available on the NISO website.

Anyone interested in participating on one of the initiative’s working groups should use the online contact form and indicate in which of the four activity area(s) you are interested.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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