Steven B. Roberts’s 103-page tenure package features the usual long-as-your-arm list of peer-reviewed publications. But Mr. Roberts, an assistant professor at the University of Washington who studies the effects of environmental change on shellfish, chose to add something less typical to his dossier: evidence of his research’s impact online.
He listed how many people viewed his laboratory’s blog posts, tweeted about his research group’s findings, viewed his data sets on a site called Figshare, downloaded slides of his presentations from SlideShare, and otherwise talked about his lab’s work on social-media platforms. In his bibliography, whenever he had the data, he detailed not only how many citations each paper received but how many times it had been downloaded or viewed online. The strategy was part of “an attempt to quantify online science outreach,” he explained in his promotion package….