Bookmetrix: From Concept to Launch
Jean Liu is the Product Development Manager for Altmetric and is responsible for shaping the roadmap and working with the development team to deliver great software. Altmetric (which is supported by Digital Science) aggregates online attention surrounding scholarly articles. Jean is a neuroscientist by training. Her interests in scholarly communication prompted her to move to join Altmetric, initially as their data curator and blog editor. You can follow her on Twitter: @portablebrain.
This week, the London Book Fair saw the launch of Bookmetrix, an exciting new book metrics platform that we have built in partnership with Springer. The project was born after Martijn Roelandse (Manager Publishing Innovation at Springer), Euan Adie (Founder of Altmetric), and Milan Wielinga (EVP Strategy and M&A at Springer) began brainstorming ways to showcase the wider impact of books, similar to how altmetrics are being used to illustrate the wider impact of articles. After formalising the project, a dedicated team within Altmetric worked closely with Springer counterparts for 6 months to transform the initial ideas into working software.
At Altmetric, we are constantly exploring ways in which our technology can be used to uncover mentions of articles and other types of scholarly content. The project arrived at a great time for us, as we were already keen to add more support for books.
And so, the mission of Bookmetrix is this: to give authors, editors, and readers a unique way to explore the broader impact and engagement generated by a Springer book. By bringing together many different types of metrics, namely citations, online mentions, reference manager readership stats, book reviews, and downloads, we hope that Springer’s editorial teams will be able to gain a better understanding of how their books have been received. Additionally, with all the new data that may potentially be used to support researcher CVs and funding applications, Springer authors should be able to get more credit for the books and chapters they have written.
A closer look at the platform and data
The central part of the platform is the free-to-access “Bookmetrix details page”, which allows users to browse through all the metrics and data for individual Springer books and chapters. Each book in the Springer database has its own Bookmetrix details page, and can be accessed from the book page on SpringerLink (see an example here), as well as via the Papers app.
In order to broaden the picture of impact, Altmetric contributed online mentions data to Bookmetrix, making it possible to see how Springer books and chapters have been referenced across mainstream media, policy sources, Wikipedia, blogs, social media, and more. Most of the other data available for each book and chapter in Bookmetrix have come directly from Springer, including citations (which are gathered from CrossRef), usage data (downloads), and featured book reviews.
In addition to the Bookmetrix details pages, we also built an internal book search interface for Springer staff, enabling their editorial, marketing, and sales teams to search, filter, analyse, and report on metrics for their entire books collection.
Behind the scenes at Altmetric
Development formally started on a pleasant autumn day last year, when we gathered in our London office with Martijn Roelandse to draw up the first plans for the project. Martijn spent the whole day with us, sharing his vision for the product and discussing the features that we wanted to deliver.
Our small Altmetric development team, consisting of Matt MacLeod (Software Developer), Jakub Pawlowicz (Software Developer), Louise Hills (Agile Coach), and myself (Product Development Manager), spent 6 months building Bookmetrix from the ground up. We checked in regularly with Martijn and other staff at Springer, and also presented new features in internal demos every 2 weeks.
Since we were building a completely new product (which was quite different from Altmetric!), we made sure to pepper our development process with several rounds of user research, mainly with focus groups. Every step of the way, we wanted to make sure that we were building the right features for end-users, and that our software was easy to understand and use. We are very grateful to everyone who participated in our user research sessions (often on very short notice)!
I know that everyone involved with the project on the Altmetric side will agree when I say that the development of Bookmetrix has gone very smoothly. Springer were great partners – we are grateful to Martijn and his colleagues, who recruited users for testing, worked hard to get us the Springer data that we needed, and helped us to sync up with the development processes at SpringerLink and Papers.
We’ve been delighted to see such a warm response to the product following its launch at the London Book Fair, and we hope that Springer authors, editors, and readers will enjoy using Bookmetrix as much as we have enjoyed building it.
What do you think?
We’d love to hear what you think about Bookmetrix, so please share your comments and feedback with us below, or by sending us a tweet at @altmetric.
If you’d like to stay up to date with all the latest Bookmetrix news, you can follow its brand new Twitter feed, @Bookmetrix.