Research Remix

October 31, 2011

What total-Impact brings to the party

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather Piwowar @ 11:31 am

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been one of several people working on an app called total-Impact.  Total-Impact is in early alpha release: you can play around with it or check out my report, for fun:

Several similar applications are emerging at the same time, all with the goal of making the impact of scholarly work more easily accessible and actionable.  I think lots of the other apps are great and excel in specific areas.  Here’s my take on what total-Impact brings to the party that most of the others don’t, yet:

nontraditional research objects

All types of scholarly products — datasets, code, slides, preprints, videos, slides, etc — can be tracked into the blogosphere, the bookmarksphere, and the popular press.  Total-Impact includes them in our tools Right Now.  

Sure, policy change has to come from the top down to recognize the importance of these other forms of scholarly products.  But this top-down change can be prompted by change from the bottom up: tools that help early-adopting scholars include these objects on our CVs (with context!) will demonstrate support for valuing these products and begin mainstream adoption.

For example, I include my datasets in my CV.  Dryad displays usage information on its data and this is collected by total-Impact.  Furthermore, total-Impact looks for dataset dois in ResearchBlogging posts and PLoS code, so those types of impact are included too!  (Note in this case the blog post and PLoS mention were in artifacts written by me: self-citations.  If I did this too often, it would clearly look bad, but doing it once or twice is responsible research dissemination, as is true for traditional article citations.)

Total-Impact facilitates drilling down into the source of the metrics whenever supported by the data providers.  For example, want to know who watches the total-Impact code base?  Look at the “software” section of my report, click on watchers, and it will bring up the gitHub page:

A useful way for me to find developers with similar interests!  Ditto which groups have bookmarked my papers on Mendeley, etc.

diverse collection types

ok, another thing that total-Impact brings to the party is that its “collection” focus is very general.  Collections can be about people (like my report above), but they can also be based on a generic Mendeley Group about a topic or the output of a research group (see report for the Mendeley group Future of Science) , aggregated based on a Grant Number in PubMed (see report for papers tagged with the grant U54-CA121852 in PubMed), or built from any other collection of IDs an individual or organization wants to assemble.  Powerful.

There are other things that total-Impact brings too, but tracking Diverse Objects and Diverse Collection Types (for lack of better terms) are two perspectives that I hope are soon ubiquitous.


  1. […] by What total-Impact brings to the party « Research Remix — October 31, 2011 @ 11:31 am […]

    Pingback by The promise of another open: Open impact tracking « Research Remix — October 31, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  2. Thank you very much, this tool is wonderful. I am able to see the number of views and impact of each document I have shared publicly; not only the articles, but also the publications.
    I think I will add it to the ‘About’ page of my blog, to show a resume of the things I have done. Looking forward for the first official release :-)

    Comment by dalloliogm — November 2, 2011 @ 3:00 am

    • I have a few suggestions on how to improve it.

      – provide two separate Admin and Share links. I would like to put the Total Impact page of my research in my blog. However, if I post the link, everybody will be able to modify the query and add/remove elements. It would be good if you can provide two links, as does.
      – similarly, have a way to automatically update the results on a specified interval of time (i.e. every few months).
      – include Nature Precedings slides.

      Comment by dalloliogm — November 2, 2011 @ 4:15 am

      • Great suggestions!!!! I’ve added them to our list. Keep them coming.

        The link is indeed a Share link… its elements can not be modified by anyone. Right now the best way to get a modified collection is just to make a new collection from scratch. We plan to make collections editable by their owners in the future. Good idea to look to the doodle model.

        We’d like to include votes on Nature Precedings documents, but their Terms of Use do not allow us to scrape their web pages. We plan to ask them for written permission for our application, but haven’t got there yet.

        Comment by Heather Piwowar — November 2, 2011 @ 6:27 am

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