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Thursday, January 22, 2009

New impact metric by PLoS ONE

In an attempt to provide alternative metrics to the traditional journal impact factor, the open-access journal Public Library of Science ONE announced that it will release a slew of alternative impact data about individual articles in the coming months. The new "articles-level metrics project" -- which will post usage data, page views, citations from Scopus and CrossRef, social networlking links, press coverage, comments, and user ratings for each of PLoS ONE's thousands of articles -- was announced by Peter Binfield, the journal's managing editor.
"No one has any data other than [ISI] impact factors," Binfield told The Scientist. "Our idea is to throw up a bunch of metrics and see what people use." From its inception at the end of 2006, PLoS ONE has eschewed the notion of impact factors. (It is not currently listed by the ISI Web of Science's rankings.) Binfield argued that the traditional impact factor judges a journal's overall performance, rather than assessing impact at the article-level. The new scheme, however, is aimed at evaluating each article on its own merits, regardless of the other papers in the same journal, he said. Binfield hopes that the journal's readers will use the information to come to their conclusions. "We're putting the data out there and letting the world figure it out." Eventually, Binfield hopes that readers will be able to personalize how they view the data, and sort articles according to the metric of their choice. "The more metrics we have, the more it'll lead to a dilution of any one [metric]," said Bjoern Brembs, a neuroscientist at the Free University of Berlin in Germany and member of PLoS ONE's editorial board.

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