An Intro to Altmetrics

If you’ve looked at any of the book pages on the NAP website in the last few months, you probably noticed a new feature: the Stats tab. This addition to the catalog page shows the number of total PDF downloads, downloads by country, and Altmetrics.

But what are Altmetrics? Researchers strive to show the impact their papers, books, and datasets are having beyond citations. Altmetrics (Alternative metrics) were created to address this need by locating and measuring attention to research from traditional and non-traditional media sources. Each indicator employed by this system can shed light on how a piece of research is read, reused, and built upon.

The Altmetric score is based on the amount of attention the article receives from social media and mainstream news media. As more people mention it, the score rises. However, each source contributes a different base amount to the final score. For instance, a newspaper article contributes more than a tweet. This data gives valuable insight as to who is reading these articles and how they are being shared. This information then reveals the scope of the article’s reach and influence, and allows researchers to learn more about their audience.

If you’re curious about which Academies reports had the highest Altmetric scores, so were we. Here’s the top five.





Lessons from Katrina for Community Disaster Recovery

Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in southeast Louisiana. Katrina had a disaster area of 90,000 square miles, creating community-wide and regional response issues. In the devastation that followed, there was an acute need for multiple sectors to unite and devote new resources to support the rebuilding of infrastructure, the provision of health and social services, the restoration of care delivery systems, and other critical recovery needs. A new report from the Institute of Medicine aims to increase the nation’s resilience at federal, state, local, and community levels through actionable recommendations and guidance on the best approaches to reduce adverse impacts from hazards and disasters.

According to Reed Tuckson, Chair of the authoring committee of Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters:

“As the nation focuses on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we should appreciate the important lessons learned from this tragedy that other communities can use to enhance the resiliency of their health infrastructures and lead to better health for all community members. The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Post-Disaster Recovery of a Community’s Public Health, Medical and Social Services utilized the Katrina experience as an important component in formulating its recommendations on the importance and processes of preparing for disasters, and how to thoughtfully use the resources associated with disaster recovery to advance the long-term health of communities and their residents. It is our hope that, as we remember the Katrina experience, the community leaders will take the opportunity to review the 12 recommendations in our report, Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters, and apply them as appropriate to their circumstances.”

This book and all our reports on disaster resilience are free to download.

Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters: Strategies, Opportunities, and Planning for Recovery

In the devastation that follows a major disaster, there is a need for multiple sectors to unite and devote new resources to support the rebuilding of infrastructure, the provision of health and social services, the restoration of care delivery …

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Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative

No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation …

[more]

Launching a National Conversation on Disaster Resilience in America: Workshop Summary

With the increasing frequency of natural and human-induced disasters and the increasing magnitude of their consequences, a clear need exists for governments and communities to become more resilient. The National Research Council’s 2012 report …

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Building Community Disaster Resilience Through Private-Public Collaboration

Natural disasters–including hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods–caused more than 220,000 deaths worldwide in the first half of 2010 and wreaked havoc on homes, buildings, and the environment. To withstand and recover from …

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Environmental Public Health Impacts of Disasters: Hurricane Katrina, Workshop Summary

Public health officials have the traditional responsibilities of protecting the food supply, safeguarding against communicable disease, and ensuring safe and healthful conditions for the population. Beyond this, public health today is challenged …

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Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters: The Perspective from the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi: Summary of a Workshop

Natural disasters are having an increasing effect on the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world. Every decade, property damage caused by natural disasters and hazards doubles or triples in the United States. More than half …

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Sending the Kids Back to School? Get the Science Behind Testing, Vaccinations, and Sports Safety

Credit: Norman Public School.

Credit: Norman Public School.

By now you’re in back to school prep mode – time to complete forms, schedule doctor’s appointments, and find out just how much your kids grew this summer. Whether it’s your child’s first day of preschool or their last year of high school, there are a lot of issues for parents to think about. Our reports provide the science base for discussion of vaccinations, safety in sports, testing, bullying, and more. All are free to download.

The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies

Vaccines are among the most safe and effective public health interventions to prevent serious disease and death. Because of the success of vaccines, most Americans today have no firsthand experience with such devastating illnesses as polio or …

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Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture

In the past decade, few subjects at the intersection of medicine and sports have generated as much public interest as sports-related concussions – especially among youth. Despite growing awareness of sports-related concussions and campaigns to …

[more]

Building Capacity to Reduce Bullying: Workshop Summary

Bullying – long tolerated as just a part of growing up – finally has been recognized as a substantial and preventable health problem. Bullying is associated with anxiety, depression, poor school performance, and future delinquent behavior among …

[more]

Snooze… or Lose!: 10 “No-War” Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits

Walk into any first-period high school classroom and it’s obvious: teenagers are exhausted. Sleep deprivation is an epidemic as widespread as obesity and just as damaging. Fortunately, science has answers and Dr. Helene Emsellem has solutions …

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Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century

Americans have long recognized that investments in public education contribute to the common good, enhancing national prosperity and supporting stable families, neighborhoods, and communities. Education is even more critical today, in the face of …

[more]

Student Mobility: Exploring the Impact of Frequent Moves on Achievement: Summary of a Workshop

Many low-income families struggle with stable housing and frequently have to move due to foreclosures, rent increases, or other financial setbacks. Children in these families can experience lasting negative effects, especially those who are young …

[more]

Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education

In recent years there have been increasing efforts to use accountability systems based on large-scale tests of students as a mechanism for improving student achievement. The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a prominent example of such …

[more]

Myths and Tradeoffs: The Role of Tests in Undergraduate Admissions

More than 8 million students enrolled in 4-year, degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States in 1996. The multifaceted system through which these students applied to and were selected by the approximately 2,240 institutions in …

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The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking: Workshop Report

Adolescence is a time when youth make decisions, both good and bad, that have consequences for the rest of their lives. Some of these decisions put them at risk of lifelong health problems, injury, or death. The Institute of Medicine held three …

[more]

Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality

In 1900, for every 1,000 babies born in the United States, 100 would die before their first birthday, often due to infectious diseases. Today, vaccines exist for many viral and bacterial diseases. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, passed …

[more]

Resources to Improve Undergrad STEM Education

As the chart below indicates, STEM education will continue to significantly contribute to the nation’s economy and prosperity. In an environment of increasing tuition and shrinking public funding, the most successful colleges and universities will be the ones that promote excellent teaching and support students as they work toward their degrees. Our reports discuss changing pathways to degrees and methods to improve teaching beyond the lecture hall. All are free to download.

Credit: U.S. Department of Education

Credit: U.S. Department of Education

Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering

The undergraduate years are a turning point in producing scientifically literate citizens and future scientists and engineers. Evidence from research about how students learn science and engineering shows that teaching strategies that motivate …

[more]

Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering

The National Science Foundation funded a synthesis study on the status, contributions, and future direction of discipline-based education research (DBER) in physics, biological sciences, geosciences, and chemistry. DBER combines knowledge of …

[more]

Enhancing the Community College Pathway to Engineering Careers

Community colleges play an important role in starting students on the road to engineering careers, but students often face obstacles in transferring to four-year educational institutions to continue their education. Enhancing the Community …

[more]

Colloquy on Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

On August 8-12, 2010 the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), convened the Colloquy on Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), following the release of …

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Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education

Higher education is a linchpin of the American economy and society: teaching and research at colleges and universities contribute significantly to the nation’s economic activity, both directly and through their impact on future growth; federal …

[more]

Adapting to a Changing World–Challenges and Opportunities in Undergraduate Physics Education

Adapting to a Changing World was commissioned by the National Science Foundation to examine the present status of undergraduate physics education, including the state of physics education research, and, most importantly, to develop a …

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Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults

Young adulthood – ages approximately 18 to 26 – is a critical period of development with long-lasting implications for a person’s economic security, health and well-being. Young adults are key contributors to the nation’s workforce and military …

[more]

Science on Floods: Risks, National Insurance, and Resilience

UntitledAccording to FEMA, floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States. Property owners who live in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can purchase affordable protection to protect against loss. The NFIP is a cornerstone in the U.S. strategy to assist communities to prepare for, mitigate against, and recover from flood disasters. At the request of Congress, several recent reports have examined the current state of the program and options to improve it. These books and others on floods and disaster resilience are all free to download.

A Community-Based Flood Insurance Option

River and coastal floods are among the nation’s most costly natural disasters. One component in the nation’s approach to managing flood risk is availability of flood insurance policies, which are offered on an individual basis primarily through …

[more]

Tying Flood Insurance to Flood Risk for Low-Lying Structures in the Floodplains

Floods take a heavy toll on society, costing lives, damaging buildings and property, disrupting livelihoods, and sometimes necessitating federal disaster relief, which has risen to record levels in recent years. The National Flood Insurance …

[more]

Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums: Report 1

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and offers insurance policies that are marketed and sold through private insurers, but with the risks borne by the U.S. federal …

[more]

Levees and the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is a cornerstone in the U.S. strategy to assist communities to prepare for, …

[more]

Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice

Although advances in engineering can reduce the risk of dam and levee failure, some failures will still occur. Such events cause impacts on social and physical infrastructure that extend far beyond the flood zone. Broadening dam and levee safety …

[more]

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts

Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal …

[more]

Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative

No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation …

[more]

Mapping the Zone: Improving Flood Map Accuracy

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps portray the height and extent to which flooding is expected to occur, and they form the basis for setting flood insurance premiums and regulating development in the floodplain. …

[more]

Elevation Data for Floodplain Mapping

Floodplain maps serve as the basis for determining whether homes or buildings require flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Approximately $650 billion in insured assets …

[more]

Kepler and the Search for Earth-like Planets

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

This week NASA announced the discovery of Kepler 452-B, the most Earth-like exoplanet found to date through the Kepler project. What technology do we need in order to learn about this planet? How can we look for more planets like this, in the “goldilocks” habitable zone of their solar systems? The Panel Reports for the decadal survey New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics addressed these questions and made recommendations for research and technology needs to advance our knowledge. These books as well as others in our collection on Space Exploration are free to download.

Panel Reports–New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Every 10 years the National Research Council releases a survey of astronomy and astrophysics outlining priorities for the coming decade. The most recent survey, titled New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, provides overall priorities and recommendations for the field …

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New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Driven by discoveries, and enabled by leaps in technology and imagination, our understanding of the universe has changed dramatically during the course of the last few decades. The fields of astronomy and astrophysics are making new connections to physics, chemistry, biology, and computer …

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Science Beyond Borders: U.S. – Iran Engagement

On July 14, 2015, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, and China (the P5+1) reached a landmark agreement with Iran that strictly limits nuclear-related activities in Iran while calling for bilateral and multilateral collaboration in nuclear science and technology. The NAP report titled U.S.-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (2000-2009) summarizes activities of the Academies in bringing together more than 1,000 specialists from about 100 U.S. and Iran academic and research centers in the two countries in nongovernmental workshops, exchanges of individuals, and pilot projects. While the report is devoted primarily to non-nuclear activities, many of the lessons learned have broad applicability in carrying out collaborative programs in a variety of fields under difficult and often unpredictable conditions.

U.S.-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health (2000-2009): Opportunities, Constraints, and Impacts

During the first decade of the 21st century, the National Academies, working with a number of partner organizations in Iran, carried out a program of U.S.-Iran engagement in science, engineering, and health (herein referred to as science engagement). This book reviews important aspects of the science engagement program, including: (a) objectives of the program, (b) opportunities and constraints in developing the program, and (c) scientific and political impacts of the activities. Suggestions …

[more]

Beyond Pluto: Science and Future Exploration in the Kuiper Belt

KB-objects

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC

Today’s flyby of Pluto and its system of moons by New Horizons finishes our initial reconnaissance of the classical solar system, and begins our exploration of the Kuiper Belt. This large area beyond Neptune’s orbit remains mysterious and unknown. National Academy of Sciences reports have ranked the exploration of this region as a research priority for the coming decade. Why is the Kuiper Belt important? What new discoveries do we expect to make? Find out here.

Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022

In recent years, planetary science has seen a tremendous growth in new knowledge. Deposits of water ice exist at the Moon’s poles. Discoveries on the surface of Mars point to an early warm wet climate, and perhaps conditions under which life …

[more]

Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Spacecraft Missions to Icy Solar System Bodies

NASA’s exploration of planets and satellites during the past 50 years has led to the discovery of traces of water ice throughout the solar system and prospects for large liquid water reservoirs beneath the frozen ICE shells of multiple satellites …

[more]

Grading NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Review

The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 directed the agency to ask the NRC to assess the performance of each division in the NASA Science directorate at five-year intervals. In this connection, NASA requested the NRC to review the progress the Planetary …

[more]

New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy

Solar system exploration is that grand human endeavor which reaches out through interplanetary space to discover the nature and origins of the system of planets in which we live and to learn whether life exists beyond Earth. It is an international …

[more]

New Frontiers in Solar System Exploration

Over the last four decades, robotic spacecraft have visited nearly every planet, from torrid Mercury to frigid Neptune. The data returned by these Pioneers, Mariners, Vikings, and Voyagers have revolutionized our understanding of the solar …

[more]

Optimizing the U.S. Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy System

New astronomical facilities, such as the under-construction Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and planned 30-meter-class telescopes, and new instrumentation on existing optical and infrared (OIR) telescopes, hold the promise of groundbreaking …

[more]

The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes

The first spacecraft to explore the secrets of the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, and the void beyond Pluto, the Pioneer space probes have been the trailblazers of the space age, truly going where no man has gone before.

Emblazoned with the …

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A Woman’s Place in STEM: Achieving an Equal Workplace

image001
Marie Curie

Unquestionably, women’s participation in academic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has increased over the past few decades. In order for the United States to maintain the global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology that are critical to achieving national goals, we must continue to encourage the growth of a diverse STEM workforce. Reports from the National Research Council and the National Academy of Engineering explore the unique challenges for women as they pursue careers in STEM fields. All are free to download.

Career Choices of Female Engineers: A Summary of a Workshop

Despite decades of government, university, and employer efforts to close the gender gap in engineering, women make up only 11 percent of practicing engineers in the United States. What factors influence women graduates’ decisions to enter the …

[more]

Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia: Summary of a Conference

Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia is the summary of a 2013 conference convened by the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine of the National Research Council to discuss …

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Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context: Summary of a Workshop

The scientific work of women is often viewed through a national or regional lens, but given the growing worldwide connectivity of most, if not all, scientific disciplines, there needs to be recognition of how different social, political, and …

[more]

From Science to Business: Preparing Female Scientists and Engineers for Successful Transitions into Entrepreneurship: Summary of a Workshop

Scientists, engineers, and medical professionals play a vital role in building the 21st- century science and technology enterprises that will create solutions and jobs critical to solving the large, complex, and interdisciplinary problems faced …

[more]

Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads

In order for the United States to maintain the global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology that are critical to achieving national goals, we must invest in research, encourage innovation, and grow a strong and talented science …

[more]

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty presents new and surprising findings about career differences between female and male full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty …

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To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering

Although more women than men participate in higher education in the United States, the same is not true when it comes to pursuing careers in science and engineering. To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering …

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The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited

The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited builds on the 2000 report Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers. That ground-breaking report assessed the postdoctoral experience and provided principles, action …

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The Arc of the Academic Research Career: Issues and Implications for U.S. Science and Engineering Leadership: Summary of a Workshop

America’s research universities have undergone striking change in recent decades, as have many aspects of the society that surrounds them. This change has important implications for the heart of every university: the faculty. To sustain their …

[more]

Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering

Can the United States continue to lead the world in innovation? The answer may hinge in part on how well the public understands engineering, a key component of the ‘innovation engine’. A related concern is how to encourage young …

[more]

Messaging for Engineering: From Research to Action

For those in the broad engineering community–those who employ, work with, and/or educate engineers, and engineers themselves–there is no need to explain the importance and value of engineering. They understand that engineers help make the world …

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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

The United States economy relies on the productivity, entrepreneurship, and creativity of its people. To maintain its scientific and engineering leadership amid increasing economic and educational globalization, the United States must aggressively …

[more]

From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers

Although women have made important inroads in science and engineering since the early 1970s, their progress in these fields has stalled over the past several years. This study looks at women in science and engineering careers in the 1970s and 1980s, …

[more]

Science-based Advice for Managing U.S. Fisheries

In the United States, commercial and recreational fisheries generate $166 billion in sales impacts annually and support 1.4 million jobs (NOAA 2012). Many coastal communities depend on healthy fisheries to support local industries and tourism. Depleted fish stocks continue to be a challenge for fishery managers and the fisheries: approximately 20% of the fisheries that have been assessed are considered overfished according to the September 2012 stock status report to Congress prepared by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Hence, effective management of this valuable public resource is a priority from the local to national level.

This year, Congress is working on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act–the primary legislation regulating federal fisheries, first passed in 1976. In its 1996 reauthorization, mandates were added that were aimed at rebuilding overfished fisheries, protecting essential fish habitat, and reducing bycatch. The 2006 reauthorization included provisions to immediately curtail overfishing, establish annual catch limits, and ensure accountability. For the current reauthorization, Congress is considering revisions to mandates to rebuild overfished stocks and to manage and measure recreational fishing.

Reports from the National Research Council have helped inform efforts to manage fisheries by examining the strengths and weaknesses of fish stock rebuilding plans and developing strategies to modernize the system used for collecting recreational fisheries data. The 2006 reauthorization referenced an NRC report on recreational fisheries:

“ NRC REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS.–The program shall take into consideration and, to the extent feasible, implement the recommendations of the National Research Council in its report Review of Recreational Fisheries Survey Methods (2006).” [H.R. 5946, Section 201 (B)]

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Stock Rebuilding Plans in the United States

In the United States (U.S.), the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, now known as the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), was the first major legislation to regulate federal fisheries in the U.S. …

[more]

Review of Recreational Fisheries Survey Methods

Recreational fishing in the United States is an important social and economic component of many marine fisheries, with an estimated 14 million anglers making almost 82 million fishing trips in 2004. Although each individual angler typically harvests …

[more]

Learn more about how fishing limits are rebuilding stocks in U.S. waters.

fisheries_visualization