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Other Measures

Altmetrics — which seek to capture the impact of a paper or project beyond where it was published or how many times it was cited — are becoming increasingly popular, Jennifer Howard at the Chronicle of Higher Education says. For example, she says, professors like Steven Roberts at the University of Washington are including more data, such as on the number of view of the lab's blog or how many times his slides were downloaded from SlideShare, as part of his tenure package.

In addition, Howard notes, a number of companies and services have sprung up to provide such data. Google Scholar can put together citation data similar to that of Thomson Reuters' Web of Science or Elsevier's Scopus. A company called Altmetric pulls together data from social media and other sites to create a weighted score of an article's impact, and it is working with John Wiley & Sons, Howard adds.

Still, the importance of altmetrics isn't yet established. "The folks I've talked to are like, 'Yes, it does have some value, but in terms of the reality of my tenure-and-promotion process, I have to focus on other things,'" Stacy Konkiel, a science data-management librarian at Indiana University Bloomington, tells Howard.