Impact Citations

Material World is not a show I actively seek out on BBC Radio 4, given its usual rocket science slant. Yet the issue I caught this week contained a lovely sales  insight. It heralds from the current scientific community’s publishing shake-up.

In the past, all scientific research was published in journals of renown for peer review and exaltation or extermintation.

Today, a 140 character hypothesis that can change the world travels it just as fast.

As Jason Priem, featured in the programme, states on his website;

In the 17th century, scholar-publishers created the first scientific journals, revolutionising the communication and practice of scholarship. Today, we’re at the beginning of a second revolution, as academia slowly awakens to the tranformative potential of the Web.   I’m interested in both pushing this revolution forward, and in studying it as it happens. I’m investigating altmetrics: measuring scholarly impact over the social web instead of through traditional citation. I’m also interested in new publishing practices like scholarly tweeting, overlay journals, alternative peer review forms, and open access.

Where the winning sales angle comes in, is with what is apparently termed the “impact” of such papers.

How is such impact measured? Well, you tot up the numbers of citations your paper receives. The more you get, the bigger your impact.

Naturally in today’s myriad citation channels, impact is trickier to measure.

And this holds especially true for the impact of what we sell.

In the past, we treasure our testimonials. A signed-off piece of paper that, probably aeons after the event anyway, depicts how wonderful our wares and ‘tlc’ were, filled with outdated marketing platitudes.

But surely what we do has impact all day, every day, within our clients?

How are we tapping into them?

Not everyone that comes in contact with us is tweeting about it. Yet there are just as numerous ways that our name is cited.

So, how can you gain access to the communications that are going around inside our customers about us?

It must be happening. From the most informal of chats, to the most formal of presentations. Whether they be anecdotal or right through to budgetary requests. Then there’s all the emails and instant messagings that are pretty much constant.

Where’s our chief correspondent internally? It’d be terrific to capture at least some of this noise about us.

Grabbing it, and keeping it safe, could easily make the difference between losing the customer or extending their contract. And also provide vital proof that helps win another one elsewhere too.

Hunt out your impact citations by studying your own “altmetrics“.

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