SILS Ph.D. student, Jason Priem, and co-PI Heather Piwowar, receive grant for ImpactStory project

June 25, 2013

Jason PriemCHAPEL HILL – The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to ImpactStory, a nonprofit startup founded by Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem, doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science (SILS) for their continued work on altmetrics – a process used to measure things other than traditional journal citations or other scholarly notations. 

The grant provides funding for the next two years that will “support the scaling and further development to sustainability of ImpactStory, a nonprofit open altmetrics platform that helps scholars evaluate, sort, consume and reward Web-native products.”

The project allows users to view the impact of a wide range of research output via its Web site. ImpactStory "goes beyond traditional measurements of research output - citations to papers - to embrace a much broader evidence of use across a wide range of scholarly output types." The project’s goal is to help researchers track and share the full impact of their scholarly work across the Web. To do this, the application gathers and displays data including downloads, citations and even activity on social media such as blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts.

“The Web has the potential to transform scholarly communication, profoundly accellerating the progress of research,” said Priem. “But for this to happen, we need to replace the traditional scholarly evaluation system with one that rewards boundry-pushing researchers—scholars on the cutting edge, using the Web to quickly and openly share their data, code, articles and more. ImpactStory is helping to build this next-generation scholarly reward system, by uncovering the full story of researchers’ online and offline impact. We’re absolutely thrilled that Sloan is continuing to support this work, and look forward to an exciting two years.”

ImpactStory relates to Priem's research in altmetrics: alternative metrics that measure things other than journal citations or other traditional academic impact indicators. Noting the increasing inadequacy of traditional methods including peer review, citation analysis and the journal Impact Factor, he seeks to include information about the sharing of "raw science" (code, datasets) and self-publishing via blogs or Twitter, among other new forms of scholarly communication, in measuring the total impact of research.

Priem and Piwowar's work on ImpactStory has been highlighted in several news outlets including BBC Radio 4,  The Chronicle of Higher Education. University World News, Information Today   and Nature Magazine.
The grant is an extension of the initial grant of $125,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 2012 which allowed the formation of a nonprofit company, outreach for open altmetrics and the ability to develop “a scalable open Web application (with context, embeddable widgets and impact profile pages).”

To follow future developments on ImpactStory, visit the blog or the Web site