Pulling up the altmetrics data for a recent PLOS article reveals a lot more than just a number. For instance, by showing who is bookmarking an article and saving it to Mendeley, it tells the reader something about the other people who are interested in reading, discussing and potentially using the research. Drilling down into the 184 tweets (as of Friday lunchtime) tells you not only who is interested in it, but how and why they are interested in it. Which pull quotes and extracts are they tweeting? What is the key 140 character message from an eight page paper? What is the primary idea or result that this article contributes to the existing body of literature and the current debate? In real-time, you can see how an article is interpreted differently by people who may have contrasting priorities, perspectives or disciplines. Whilst one person zones in on the quote that "the impact factor may be the most satisfactory of the methods" another asks “what does this ultimately mean for the REF coming up in the UK?”. The Google search results reveal which blogs, news and other web sources are talking about the work, and what they are saying.
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