I remember considering the “Impact Factor” of journals when submitting research papers, and wondering what the impact factor of a specific paper I published might be out of curiosity. Not particularly seriously, my field was narrow enough in my Ph.D. research that there were just a few journals to even consider, so it was usually pretty simple choosing. And for individual articles, I am pretty sure I knew the 4 people in the world outside my lab that were interested in my research (I jest, a little). During my postdoc, my PI was pretty good and choosing journals based on the article, the journal’s audience… and impact factor.
But impact factor measuring has it’s issues (Article-Level Metrics and the Evolution of Scientific Impact, Neylon and Wu. PLoS Biol 7: e1000242), and there is always a search to measure the impact of journals and individual articles better, or at least differently. Well, one of my favorite science sites and one of my favorite journal publishers ResearchBlogging.org and PLoS, have worked together to measure the impact of journal articles. PLoS has a lot of metrics to see what the ‘impact’ of an article might be, and now they’ve added a metric to see how many times it’s been written about on blogs using blog aggregators like Postgenomic, Blog Lines and Nature Blogs, and now ResearchBlogging.
I like the partnership with ResearchBlogging specifically because whereas the other blog aggregators are not necessarily picking up articles that discuss the science of the article (Postgenomic) or aggregate only a subset of science blogs out there (Nature Blogs), ResearchBlogging is specifically blogs posts discussing the research of peer-reviewed articles.
Of course I don’t find this particularly useful to compare one article against another (the best articles aren’t always written about, and those that are might not be in the blog aggregators), but I do think this will be great way to carry on the conversation and dig deeper into the research topic.
You can view that metric at PLoS of any article, for example the one I link to above, click on the “metric” tab, scroll down a bit until you see the heading “Blog Coverage.” For that article, you’ll see two ResearchBlogging posts (as of this writing), a metric for this paper about metrics :).