This spring SPARC published a community resource, Article-Level Metrics: A SPARC Primer (PDF), by Greg Tananbaum. Article-level metrics (ALMs) are rapidly emerging as important tools to quantify how individual articles are being discussed, shared, and used. This SPARC primer provides an overview of what ALMs are, why they matter, how they complement established utilities and metrics, and how they might be considered for use in the tenure and promotion process.
While article-level metrics are not inherently part of the open access (OA) movement, they are tools that can be applied in a variety of ways that are of interest to the OA community. The community can develop, distribute, and build upon ALM tools in a manner that opens up impact metrics. These efforts are transparent in the methodologies they use to track impact, as well as the technologies behind the processes. ALMs that are free to use, modify, and distribute contribute to a world in which information is more easily shared and in which the pace of research and development is accelerated as a consequence.