If you're just starting out in your research career, it can be difficult to get your work noticed. It can take years to get your papers published in a big name journal, and even longer to build up citation counts, which are used throughout many areas of academia as a measure of impact or influence. This Nature paper explores some surprising facts about citation counts, and touches on some of the drawbacks of citations as a measure of impact.
But what are the alternatives? Open access publishing, where your papers are made freely available on the open web, may be one way to get people talking about your research. This research paper by Euan Adie suggests that open access papers are discussed and shared more widely online than those published in subscription-only journals. This research suggests that open access papers are more likely to be cited (up to 600% more likely, according to some studies).
When it comes to tracking or demonstrating the reach and influence of your research, there are an increasing number of choices available. Altmetrics measure the online attention your work receives, by tracking Mendeley shares, tweets, blog posts and more. Altmetrics can be applied not just to research papers, but to any data sets, software, slides, posters or videos you have produced. In this blog post, Stacy Konkiel from Impactstory explores the use of altmetrics to measure and demonstrate the impact of open science.
So if you are engaged in research, you may find that it's worth exploring how open access and altmetrics can help you to get people talking about your work.