ReaderMeter: readership analytics for scientists

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For those up to social web metrics here is yet another one: ReaderMeter! It is based on bookmark data from the research paper sharing social web site Mendeley and ReaderMeter computes a bookmark-based h-index to evaluate one’s readership impact. Thus it is mostly for scientists.

The ReaderMeter service is constructed by Dario Taraborelli who also co-organized the altmetrics workshop recently held in Koblenz. He is now at the Wikimedia Foundation and furthermore co-organizes the WikiViz Wikipedia visualization challenge.

As with Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search ReaderMeter has problems with name variations and disambiguation. I am found under Finn A Nielsen and Finn Arup Nielsen and Finn Nielsen and Finn Aarup Nielsen. Taraborelli assures us that “Spelling variants will be addressed in the next major upgrade.” My “Finn Nielsen” clashes with another “Finn Nielsen”. As with Google Scholar and the Microsoft service there are also identification issues for individual papers. There are two listed items (1 and 2) with the same DOI in ReaderMeter.

Below I have tried to aggregate my papers across naming variations:

# Article Readership/Bookmarks
1 Nielsen 2006 23
2 Nielsen 2009 16
3 Frokjaer 2008 14
4 Nielsen 2007 14
5 Hansen 2011 13
6 Balslev 2006 13
7 Kalbitzer 2009 12
8 Balslev 2005 12
9 Pennock 2001 11
10 Kalbitzer 2010 11
11 Nielsen 2009 11
12 Nielsen 2005 9
13 Balslev 2002 8

So the metrics seems to be somewhat skewed and independent of the Google Scholar citations… Or what? Where is my co-author Cyril Goutte, who wrote highly cited papers 10 years ago?

Goutte’s Modeling the hemodynamic response in fMRI using smooth FIR filters amasses 92 Google Scholar citations but only 1 Mendeley bookmark according to ReaderMeter! But there are two entries for the article on Mendeley: one with one reader and another with 21 readers.

I cannot find On clustering fMRI time series in ReaderMeter. It got 44 “Readers on Mendeley” and 217 Google Scholar citations.

ReaderMeter is interesting, but its present version seems to suffer from a few “child diseases” for it to be a full fledged recommendable service (at least for the papers I examined). Microsoft Academic Search has an ‘Edit’ button where you can merge authors, merge publications and do a few other things (you need to sign in with Live ID to gain this functionality). ReaderMeter may very well improve if it implements similar functions. It is unclear for me how open Microsoft Academic Search is. Taraborelli’s ReaderMeter is on CC-by-sa so users may be more willing to spend time on merging and disambiguating authors and papers on ReaderMeter.


(Update 6 July 2011: When I wrote this blog post I was lazy and didn’t look on the good blogs that have already touched upon the same issues that I mentions.Taraborelli himself has a nice blog post and Rod Page also has a good one. Apart from author name normalization, article deduplication and author disambiguation Taraborelli also mentions a possible readership selection bias.)


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