Review Update: Plum Analytics
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Rebecca Raszewski, MS, AHIP
Associate Professor and Information Services & Liaison Librarian
Library of the Health Sciences Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago

Editor’s Note: The reviewer first reviewed Plum Analytics in the December 2016 issue of the DCDM Newsletter. (You can read that review here.) At the time of that review, Plum Analytics was transferring ownership from EBSCO to Elsevier, which made reviewing the resource challenging. As you’ll see from this updated review, the tool has undergone significant transformation under Elsevier’s ownership.

PlumX Dashboards is an altmetrics tool that integrates traditional measures of researchers’ impact, such as citation counts with altmetrics, article downloads, or tweets, to provide a more comprehensive picture of a researcher’s impact. PlumX Dashboards tracks altmetrics for almost 70 types of research output, such as articles, books and book chapters, dissertations, conference proceedings, and videos, to help showcase research and tell the story beyond citation counts alone.

Founded in 2012, Plum Analytics was acquired by Elsevier in 2017. Since then, the Plum Analytics team has expanded its focus towards Elsevier’s overall product strategy with research metrics. It has discontinued part of the PlumX product suite, such as its Benchmarks, Grants, and Funding Opportunities. PlumX Metrics can now be used in Scopus, Engineering Village, Digital Commons, SSRN, Pure, and more.

PlumX Metrics also can be used outside of standalone subscription-based tools, and can be integrated into library resources. For example, PlumX Metrics can be embedded in one’s institutional repository so that researchers can view their research impact in one place. It also provides metrics widgets that can be embedded in journal websites, department websites, faculty pages, or lab sites. Mount Sinai Health System and Georgia Southern University are examples of how PlumX Metrics highlights research conducted at these institutions.

Plum Analytics is continuing to categorize the data it captures through five types of metrics. Plum Analytics provides updates on additional metrics and resources that are added or discontinued.

  • Usage – includes article level download data. Also includes abstracts’ views, the number of libraries that may hold a book, or how many times a video has been played on Vimeo or YouTube.
  • Captures – tracks when someone bookmarks or favorites someone’s research. Github, Goodreads, Mendeley, and Slideshare are examples of resources that Plum Analytics will track for this data.
  • Mentions – includes when citations are mentioned in sources such as blog posts or news sources curated by PlumX, Amazon, or Goodreads reviews, or references from Wikipedia posts.
  • Social Media – includes when scholarship is liked, shared, or tweeted on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
  • Citations – tracks how many times a particular piece of scholarship has been cited. The citation metrics include how many times a citation has been cited in PubMed Central, Scopus, or even if the scholarship has been cited in a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2016, PlumX Metrics began tracking what it refers to as clinical citations. These types of citations are coming from resources such as clinical practice guidelines in PubMed, clinical trials, or National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE). DynaMed Plus Topics from EBSCO are also included.

In 2017, Elsevier began integrating PlumX Metrics into some of its products and continues to build upon this functionality. In addition to Elsevier products, PlumX Metrics can be viewed within EBSCOhost databases and EBSCO Discover Service. This option would need to be enabled by an institution’s database administrators. In 2018, the PlumX Artifact page was updated in Scopus so that users can view altmetrics for their citations.

The focus of PlumX Analytics over the next year is to increase the number of artifacts it covers by growing its list of international resources and continuing to add new indicators of societal impact by expanding its coverage of clinical and patent citations.

Author’s Note: The author would like to acknowledge Stephanie Faulkner, Client Service Manager for Research Metrics at Elsevier, and Andrea Michalek, Vice President of Research Metrics, Product Management and Managing Director of Plum Analytics at Elsevier, for their extensive feedback on this article.

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