SPARC has now released Article-Level Metrics: A SPARC Primer (2013) which defines Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) and:
is designed to give campus leaders and other interested parties an overview of what ALMs are, why they matter, how they complement established utilities, and how they can be used in the tenure and promotion process.
The full primer goes on to define ALMs and their uses:
- ALMs pull from two distinct data streams: scholarly visibility and social visibility.
- ALMs provide different markers of an article’s reach, beyond just citations. ALMs can incorporate shorter-term data points such as news coverage, blog posts, tweets, and Facebook likes. They can also include longer-term markers such as download statistics and article comments. Taken collectively, these data points can present a much fuller perspective of an article’s impact over time.
- Article-Level Metrics are sometimes conflated with “altmetrics”, but they are not interchangeable. Article-Level Metrics are an attempt to measure impact at the article level using traditional and emerging data sources. These emerging data sources are sometimes called altmetrics, and they can be used to help measure the impact of articles, journals, individual scholars, and other entities.
- ALMs are not owned or controlled by any single company. The community can develop, distribute, and build upon ALM tools in a manner that unlocks impact metrics. In this regard, ALMs dovetail with not just open access but various other “open” movements – open science, open data, and open source chief among them.
The full document is well worth reading for all interested in broader impacts, public scholarship, evaluating impact, and developing and supporting open standards. Luckily, the full Article-Level Metrics: A SPARC Primer (2013) is available online and is very readable.