Article Level Metrics Debut at PLOS

I am SO into this, did anyone else notice it?? I just discovered a couple of days ago that PLOS now has metrics on all of its articles in all of its journals. When you pull up a given article there are several tabs just below the title.

One of these tabs is the ‘metrics’ tab. If you click on it it takes you to a page that shows the metrics – things like article views, and downloads, for that particular article. Here is an example from that article that I posted on the other day.  That article was just published, but you can also see metrics on older articles that were collected prior to the appearance of this feature-… like for this article for example. I love this feature because it reflects reality to the level of readership of a given article better and more immediately than the traditional pre-electronic media age measures such as citation rate or total citation number could. And, I’ve gotten quite used to looking at readership data in terms of hits and page views- running this blog and whatnot… so I’ve kind of got a feeling for this kind of data anyway.

And see that ‘Related Content‘ tab up at the top there too. From that page  you are set up to quickly search for related articles, bookmark things in CiteULike (which I need to become more savvy with), AND LOOK FOR RELATED BLOG POSTS!!! How awesome is that!!?? Now you are immediately connected to related scientific literature, and to the immediate response to a given article in the blogosphere, with all the commentary that brings with it.

The only thing… in my humble opinion… that needs work are the ratings and comment tools. You have to log into PLOS to be able to use both the comment and ratings tools. Which I suppose is fine, but if you are like me, you have like 1 billion accounts here and there- and each journal or network that has these features requires a new account- I find that cumbersome (but I realize that there is probably a security reasoning for this). But I make a concerted effort to look if there are comments on a given article, and what they are when I look at an article in a PLOS journal- and I’m always disappointed. It seems like this comment tool isn’t used very much- and even the ratings tool- I haven’t seen used very frequently.

I guess I’ve gotten accustomed to the kinds of honest and immediate conversations we have on this blog and on those that I read, and I learn so much from interacting with the wider audience that comes here. Wider discussion on the actual science that I do, or related articles that I read, is limited (pretty much still) to 1x or 2x per year at meetings (so infrequent), journal club/lab meeting (can be hit or miss, and same audience every week!), email or phone with colleagues (slow, and one-on-one), one-on-one discussion with colleagues in my institution (also slow and one on one), or with DrMrA while brushing my teeth before bedtime (actually- we’ve got other stuff to talk about and can barely keep our eyes open at that time of day). Feeling the absence of blog-like discussion on issues of science that interest me just doesn’t feel right anymore.


8 thoughts on “Article Level Metrics Debut at PLOS

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Article Level Metrics Debut at PLOS « Blue Lab Coats [] on

  2. I remember having access to similar stats on a paper I published in BMC Genomics in 2005 – but only from the author side, the stats weren’t public. It’s great to get more immediate feedback on the impact of your paper – it can take so long to get that first citation, so seeing that people were at least reading the damn thing was very nice!

  3. Pingback: Popular, personal and public data: Article-level metrics at PLoS « O'Really?

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