Using Altmetrics for Contextualised Mapping of Societal Impact: From Hits to Networks

Science and Public Policy, 2017, DOI: 10.1093/scipol/scy024

19 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2017 Last revised: 29 Apr 2018

Nicolas Robinson-Garcia

Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València; Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy

Thed N. van Leeuwen

University of Leiden

Ismael Ràfols

Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València; Leiden University - Centre for Science and Technology Studies

Date Written: March 14, 2017

Abstract

In this article, we develop a method that uses altmetric data to analyse researchers’ interactions, as a way of mapping the contexts of potential societal impact. In the face of an increasing policy demand for quantitative methodologies to assess societal impact, social media data (altmetrics) has been presented as a potential method to capture broader forms of impact. However, current altmetric indicators were extrapolated from traditional citation approaches and are seen as problematic for assessing societal impact. In contrast, established qualitative methodologies for societal impact assessment are based on interaction approaches. These argue that assessment should focus on mapping the contexts in which engagement among researchers and stakeholders takes place, as a means to understand the pathways to societal impact. Following these interaction approaches, we propose to shift the use of altmetric data towards network analysis of researchers and stakeholders. We carry out two case studies, analysing researchers’ networks with Twitter data. The comparison illustrates the potential of Twitter networks to capture disparate degrees of policy engagement. We propose that this mapping method can be used as an input within broader methodologies in case studies of societal impact assessment.

Keywords: Societal impact, social engagement, open science, altmetrics, twitter, research evaluation

JEL Classification: C00

Suggested Citation

Robinson-Garcia, Nicolas and van Leeuwen, Thed N. and Ràfols, Ismael, Using Altmetrics for Contextualised Mapping of Societal Impact: From Hits to Networks (March 14, 2017). Science and Public Policy, 2017, DOI: 10.1093/scipol/scy024. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2932944 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2932944

Nicolas Robinson-Garcia (Contact Author)

Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València ( email )

Camino de Vera s/n, Edif.8E, Univ.Politec.Valencia
Valencia, 46022
Spain

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy ( email )

685 Cherry St.
Atlanta, GA 30332-0345
United States

Thed N. Van Leeuwen

University of Leiden ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, 2300 RA
Netherlands

Ismael Ràfols

Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València ( email )

Camí de Vera s/n, Edif.8E, Univ.Politec.Valencia
València, País Valencià 46022
Spain

Leiden University - Centre for Science and Technology Studies ( email )

Leiden
Netherlands

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