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Scholarly Metrics & Altmetrics: Choose Your Own Adventure

Tools for measuring scholarly impact, journal impact factors, altmetrics, and managing your scholarly identity.

Challenge 6 -

Welcome to the last week of the Scholarly Impact Challenge. We hope you've enjoyed it and have taken away some new tools and skills to help you grow you scholarly impact. For this final week, we're going to let you play a Choose Your Own Adventure - we have two options, and you can pick which one you want to pursue (and yes, you can always do both of them).

Our two options are:

  • Explore communicating your work to the general public
  • Explore sharing your expertise as a peer review, including open peer review 

Scroll down to the one you're interested in learning more about.

Communicating Your Work to the Public

When we write, we're almost always writing with other experts in our field in mind - aka people who know the jargon. But our writing isn't always easily understandable to the public, even though our scholarship could help people outside of academia. There's a growing movement to encourage scholars to find ways to translate their work so more people can access and understand it.

What To Do

Kudos is one platform that's trying to help researchers share their work not just with other scholars but everyone. 

Kudos allows you to create an online profile similar to Google Scholar and ORCID - we recommend just linking your account to your ORCID ID so that it can be automatically updated. 

Where Kudos stands out from the other platforms, though, is in providing you a place to provide a plain language summary of your work. Once you've imported your articles and other works through ORCID, you can click on each item in Kudos. It will then walk you through the process of creating an easy-to-understand title and overview, as well as explaining why your work is important. You can then publish these short summaries through your Kudos account and share them in various places.

Here are some other resources with tips on how to translate your work for the general public, as well as how tips for science communication:

  • eLife's Plain Language Summaries of Research resource collection
  • The Digital Curation Centre's How to Write a Lay Summary guide
  • AAAS' Take Action Toolkit

Explore Peer Review

Peer review tends to be part of the service requirement that many researchers must complete and might seem like a thankless task. Publons is trying to change that by providing a public platform to receive credit for peer reviews you complete for scholarly journals, which in turn can help establish you as an expert in a field.

What To Do

Create an account with Publons. Again notice that you can link your account to your ORCID. If you peer review for a journal that partners with Publons, they'll send Publons a notice every time you've completed a review for them. If the journal doesn't partner, you can forward an email from the journal editor acknowledging your peer review to See Publon's help page for more information on how to do that. 

Haven't started peer reviewing for a journal or other publisher yet? Try your hand at leaving open peer reviews. Open peer reviews help bring more transparency to the entire scholarly publishing process, and there are many forms of open peer reviews.

One way is to leave an open peer review for manuscripts submitted to an open repository for preprints. Preprints are articles that haven't been peer reviewed yet but the authors wish to get their information out there ASAP. Preprints have become more common in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to share results immediately. Many preprint servers allow anyone to leave an openly available peer review, which authors can then respond to and make needed changes to their papers. One common preprint repository is bioRxiv, but look to see if one of the open repositories you explored in Week 3 also allow for leaving open reviews.

Things to Consider


Providing a short summary of your work written in plain English that a general audience can understand can help expand your impact academia - but it's also time intensive. This might not make sense for everyone, especially those who work in a niche field where there's little interest from the general public. However, for many scholars, ensuring their work is properly understood by everyone can help fight against misinformation along with growing your audience. And learning how to quickly and simply tell the "So what?" of your work never hurts! 

Peer Review

While open peer review has a lot of benefits, including encouraging more constructive feedback as well as better transparency, it's not without problems. Reviewers at a lower rank than the authors or at a less prestigious institution might not be willing to fully critique a paper. Inherent biases might become an even greater factor, which could harm women and researchers of color. Open peer review should always be approached with respect and a full appreciation for what's at stake. If you have concerns, remember that there are many types of open peer review that you can take part in.