The purpose of this blog is to share ideas about uses of alternative metrics for evaluation. It is in part a response to David Colquhoun's blogging against the use of altmetrics. I believe that alternative metrics can be useful in some research evaluation contexts and think it is useful to have a blog covering these contexts.
As part of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, I have been using alternative metrics for research evaluations since 2007 and this seems like a good time to make recommendations for specific applications. Previous evaluations have been for a large UK organisation promoting innovation (Nesta), the EU, the UNDP and individual university departments. All the evaluations so far have had the common factor that the organisations evaluated produce knowledge, but not primarily traditional academic knowledge in the form of journal articles, and need evidence about the wider impact of their articles. For these, we have used a range of web-based metrics to give evidence of general impact. We always include extensive discussions of the limitations of the metrics used and and also recommend the use of content analysis in parallel with the metrics so that the numerical values can be interpreted more accurately.