June 4, 2015 | David Chandler, Editor of Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses

Taking journals out of the library: using Altmetric insight and social media to engage new audiences

One editor's view on Altmetric


Altmetric data has now been added to Taylor & Francis Online and Cogent OA, enhancing the article metrics currently available on both journal platforms. Added to all journal articles published since January 2012, Altmetric data will offer users a more complete picture of how people are engaging with research articles from Taylor & Francis Group, whether via traditional or social media, blogs or online reference managers. We spoke to David Chandler, Editor of Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses, to find out how he is using these metrics, and what these metrics mean to him as an Editor.

From David Chandler, Editor of Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses

I edit a fairly new journal, currently in our third year of publication – Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses – it is cross-disciplinary and the subject area is as yet fairly undefined so it has been important that we reach out to find and also partly to create our audience, both in terms of contributors and readership. For us, experimenting with social media has been important for promoting the journal to a new audience and a number of the editorial team are active Twitter account users so naturally we used Twitter to promote the journal and individual articles.

We had little idea of the impact of using social media to promote the Resilience journal. Of course, occasionally people reply or message with positive feedback and Twitter provides notifications when tweets are favorited or retweeted, but this does not build up into a bigger picture. The world of social media can often seem ephemeral or superficial so we had little idea of the value of our experiments. We were therefore quite surprised when the Altmetric information was shared with us by Taylor & Francis. Altmetric doesn’t measure article downloads and views but the level of social media interest. One of our journal articles scored particularly highly and Altmetric provided a breakdown of how many individuals tweeted linking to the article (95) along with a breakdown of the demographic (U.K. and U.S. largely). This article is currently leading the Resilience “most read” list so we assume that there is a direct link between social media interest and journal readership.

It is easy for a new journal to fail to make an impact in a crowded academic journal market where library budgets are continually cut back. This makes experimentation with social media increasingly important. It seems clear that with the digital revolution we are witnessing a transformation in how academic journals are accessed. Taking journals out of the library and putting them in the world means that on the one hand we have a much larger potential readership; we have the opportunity to reach across disciplines and to engage with policy makers and members of the public in ways that were not possible before. On the other hand, we are aware that the social media world is much more competitive and much more fickle than the fixed world of subscription-based academia, so the content of the journal and its reputation or ethos are key assets in sustaining contributions and readers. These are challenges that we are looking forward to!

Published: June 4, 2015 | Author: David Chandler, Editor of Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses | Category: Front page, Managing my journal, News and ideas, Taylor & Francis Online | Tagged with: