altmetrics and multiple copies of information

Reading the tweets from UKSG over the last few days has reminded me of an issue I keep mulling over to do with altmetrics – the fact that there are multiple copies of the same article in existence, and how can you tie up the social media impact of all of them?

For example there could be:

  • the published version on the publisher’s website
  • various subscription only aggregators version of the article (probably metadata only)
  • a copy of the post-print in an institutional or subject repository

All of these can be linked as they should have the DOI (assuming they all use the same DOI, which is another question altogether), but what about when someone links to information about the article that isn’t the article itself. For example I noticed on Facebook the other day that someone I’m friends with had had an article published in Nature and they shared the link to their University’s press release about the publication. Looking at the press release it had got quite a few shares on Twitter, Facebook etc. My first thought was that that was a shame as it didn’t contribute to the article’s altmetrics, whereas linking to the article would have done.

Adding in some other possibile ways of working you can easily come up with the following situations:

  • someone who shares the link to a press release about the article, rather than the article itself
  • someone who puts a blog post up about their article and then shares the link to the blog post, rather than the article itself
  • sharing the links to any news items about the article

Surely links to these types of information about a published article is as important/interesting as sharing the article itself? ANd also adds to the impact that any article has had in social media, so is there any way to include these sorts of mentions, although I appreciate that it’s probably an impossible task!

(for tweets from UKSG on the altmetrics sessions see Brian Kelly’s Storify)

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