With support from the Sloan Foundation, PLOS hosted the second annual ALM workshop on Oct 10-12, 2013. Presentation slides and links to post-workshop write-ups from the community have been linked on Lanyrd. Over 80 participants registered for the 26 “black diamond” presentations in the first two days of the program. And 20 people participated in the Data Challenge on the closing day. We had representation from a wide spectrum of the scholarly research ecosystem – researchers, publishers, academic institutions, funders, technology providers, etc.

Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views. / United States. /
States / Rhode Island. / Stereoscopic views, possibly of Newport, Rhode
Island, or vicinity.

Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views. / United States. / States / Rhode Island. / Stereoscopic views, possibly of Newport, Rhode Island, or vicinity.

Since the first ALM workshop just a year ago there have been exciting developments on a number of fronts. We welcome you to revisit the 2012 technical report documenting where the conversation started. We have a richer body of knowledge to draw on this year: more data to better understand the properties of these emerging metrics, more analysis on the evolving behaviors of the research community captured and revealed, and more demonstrations of their application in research discovery and assessment. And yet it was clearly expressed by all parties at the workshop that this is just the beginning. We have only begun to develop, understand, and use these new metrics.

We spent a lot of time listening to the conversations at the workshop, and since then, thinking about future directions for the field. One way to sum up our view of these occurences – no matter how disparate – is with the following phrase taken from Adam Smith: a rising tide lifts all boats. Certainly, there is an open horizon before us, but we envision a number of developments over the course of the upcoming year. These forecasts are encouraging ones, which will give buoyancy not just to the individual  players currently in the ALM arena. They will benefit all participants in scholarly research.

ALM Data Environment: we forecast an expansion in the suite of metrics covered beyond the existing set to capture not only more quantitative measures but also qualitative ones. We see more bibliometrics research that will give the community clearer descriptions of the ALM data from each source so that we can begin to parse out meaning from the metrics.

We also expect to gain greater understanding of the impact that these new metrics will have across the scholarly landscape (across fields, institutions, geographies, etc.). We forecast more programmatic access to the data and greater consolidation of data collection practices for metrics across publishers. And lastly, we see a deepening sense of trust for ALM data amongst the research community as data stewardship and data integrity programs mature.

Applications of ALM: we expect more investment on behalf of publishers and technology providers in finding novel ways to visualize the data.  We also anticipate significant interest in making use of the data for developing tools that support discoverability in scholarly literature.

Communications of ALM: we forecast more formalized channels for the sharing and reporting of these research metrics by researchers, institutions, and funders, including evolving best practices for at least some aspects of communicating ALM.

Going beyond ALM: lastly, we hope that we see more activity around metrics that are not about articles, but other research outputs, from monographs to research data to software.

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