The 2016 Altmetric Top 100 Outputs with ‘Comics’ as Keyword


Any frequent readers of this blog will be aware I am interested in article level metrics. I am particularly interested in the work done by Altmetric. Last week they published their annual top 100 list. I wrote this post about it.

 The Altmetric Explorer is a tool for measuring the attention that scholarly articles receive online, and its intuitive user interface works as a live searchable database that allows users to browse the journals and repositories Altmetric tracks and obtain detailed reports.

On a weekly basis Altmetric captures hundreds of thousands of tweets, blog posts, news stories, Facebook walls and other content that mentions scholarly articles on the Web. The Explorer can browse, search and filter this data. The data can be exported by the user as ‘reports’ as simple text or spreadsheets, which can be then analysed in different forms. For example, The Explorer provides demographic data of the Twitter users found mentioning specific outputs, and thus works as a mechanism for the study of academic users of social media.

In the past few years I have often suggested, online, in talks, workshops and lectures, that the Altmetric Explorer can be useful to researchers as well. Librarians with access to the tool can help students and researchers get new views of recent articles that are receiving attention online. People often focus on ‘altmetrics’ as indicators of online activity around published outputs, but I often insist the Altmetric Explorer is useful as well as a tool for searching, discovering, collecting, creating, archiving, sharing and analysing bibliographic reference collections as datasets including not just bibliographic data including identifiers and/or URLs but also historical data of any metrics the service has tracked and quantified at the time of the data query/collection.

Inspired by Altmetric’s annual Top 100 list I used the Altmetric Explorer to search for the top articles with keyword ‘comics’ mentioned in the past 1 year. I did this particular search on the morning of Tuesday 20 December 2016. Dating the collection (and indicating the specific query) is always important as social media metrics are hopefully dynamic and not static (i.e. we expect an output’s altmetrics to change over time).

After my query I saved as usual my search as  a ‘workspace’ on the app and then exported the dataset as a CSV file. I then manually cleaned and refined the data to obtain a file listing the top 100 references specifically on comics including their altmetrics. Data refining was needed to ensure the list included articles about comics, eliminating any non-relevant outputs (i.e. they were not about comics) and to correct text rendering errors, add missing data (like output titles when missing from the initial export) and limit the set to only 100 items by deleting the extra outputs.*

I have deposited and shared the dataset as

Priego, Ernesto (2016): The 2016 Altmetric Top 100 Outputs with ‘Comics’ as Keyword Mentioned in the Past 1 Year. figshare. Retrieved: 17 06, Dec 21, 2016 (GMT)

Hopefully it will be of interest to some of you out there. For comparison here’s these other datasets I have deposited on figshare in previous years:

Priego, Ernesto (2015): Almetrics of articles from the comics journals mentioned at least once in the past 1 year as tracked by Altmetric (20 August 2015). figshare. Retrieved: 17 21, Dec 21, 2016 (GMT)


Priego, Ernesto (2014): Comics Journals Articles Tracked by Altmetric in the last year (Dec 2013-Dec 2014). figshare. Retrieved: 17 23, Dec 21, 2016 (GMT)


Though the two datasets above are outputs from different search queries (focusing on specific comics journals tracked by Altmetric rather than in any articles with keyword ‘comics’) we should we able to continue collecting data for future transversal studies.

Having yearly datasets obtained from the same queries, over a series of years, would provide evidence of comics scholarship’s presence online, and of the field’s (and Altmetric’s)  evolving practices.

*It is possible the degree of relevance varies. Some outputs do not have ‘comics’ in their title but do discuss comics, for example ‘A randomized study of multimedia informational aids for research on medical practices: Implications for informed consent’ (Kraft et al 2016). It is possible however that a non-comics article or two remained, if you spot one do please let me know or leave a comment on the figshare output and I will correct and create a new version. It might also be noted that various outputs included are from The Conversation, which is not an academic journal, but it is tracked by Altmetric as it focuses on academic research news written by academics. For information and context about how Altmetric sources the data please read this.

New Publication: Editorial: Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics

The Comics Grid logo

Sometimes academic publishing is like London buses. You wait for what it feels like an eternity and then suddenly three appear at the same time.

Yesterday the editorial my colleague Nicolas Pillai and I co-wrote was published on The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship:

Pillai, N. & Priego, E., (2016). Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship. 6, p.12. DOI:

It’s been an absolute honour and pleasure to work on this project with Nic; stay tuned as there might be further collaborations! We were fortunate to get such exciting submissions for the collection.

Like all Comics Grid articles our editorial cited above is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.  You can read it online, and/or download the PDF or XML, openly and without restrictions. You are also free to share it, use it or reuse it without prior permissions as long as you attribute properly. (For more info see

The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship is a peer-reviewed open access journal published by the Open Library of Humanities [OLH].

Unlike many open-access publishers, the OLH does not charge any author fees. This does not mean that their journals do not have costs. Costs are paid by an international library consortium.

If your institution is not currently supporting the platform, you could ask your librarian to sign up. The OLH is extremely cost effective and is a not-for-profit charity. However, while the OLH cannot function without financial support and they encourage universities to sign up, institutional commitment is not required to publish in any of their journals.



New Publication: Data Paper. Data from Graphic Medicine… Insigths from Comics Producers

Open Health Data logo

Excited to have a new co-authored peer-reviewed publication, a data paper on the Journal of Open Health Data:

Farthing, A. & Priego, E., (2016). Data from ‘Graphic Medicine’ as a Mental Health Information Resource: Insights from Comics Producers. Open Health Data. 4(1), p.e3. DOI:

In the paper we describe a dataset containing the full text transcripts from 15 semi-structured interviews (approximately 44,100 words) conducted during November and December 2014 with participants involved in various aspects of the process of health-related comics production. These participants are authors and publishers and their work is publicly recognised in the comics community.

An initial domain analysis of the interviews was published on 8 February 2016 as Farthing, A., & Priego, E. (2016). ‘Graphic Medicine’ as a Mental Health Information Resource: Insights from Comics Producers. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 6(1), 3. DOI:

Little by little we might see more qualitative research datasets openly available. It’s not just quantitative datasets that have reuse potential. Many thanks to for the helpful feedback and for encouraging multidisciplinary open research data description, archiving and preservation!


Recently Launched: Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics

Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics
Ernesto Priego, Co-Editor     Nicolas Pillai, Co-Editor
Collection launched: 03 Jun 2016


Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics is a special collection of peer-reviewed research articles co-edited by Dr Nicolas Pillai (Birmingham City University) and myself for The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship.

Over the last forty years, the fields of jazz studies and comic studies have gained currency within the academy and have been enriched by interdisciplinary approaches. The New Jazz Studies has invigorated the discipline beyond its musicological roots, while Comics Studies has thrived in the digital age. This collection aims to find meeting points between the disciplines.

The call for papers for this special collection was published on 30 July 2015 and the deadline for submissions was 15 January 2016. The articles in this collection will be published in the order in which they were ready for publication (i.e. not as a ‘bulk’ or single issue).

Even though this particular collection is now closed to new submissions, The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship receives submissions on an ongoing basis. More information at


Interviewed by ScienceOpen

ScienceOpen logo


The tireless Jon Tennant continues his ScienceOpen series “highlighting diverse perspectives in the vast field of ‘open science’.”

He states on the introduction to his latest post:

“the last post in this series with Iara Vidal highlighted the opportunities of using altmetrics, as well as insight into scholarly publishing in Brazil. This week, Ernesto Priego talks with us about problems with the scholarly publishing system that led him to start his own journal, The Comics Grid.”

You can read the interview (where I talk at length…) here.

Needless to say my personal opinions are my own as an individual and do not represent those of my employer, colleagues or professional networks. Thank you for reading!

Notes on Sci-Hub

Due to different reasons (including health reasons!) I have been quite unactive on this blog. It does not mean I have been unactive everywhere though! Actually the opposite. I’d still like to continue using this blog whenever I can to document some of the work I do. Maybe this post helps me to re-start a bit of rapid blogging activity here!

Yesterday I published the following on The Winnower:

Signal, Not Solution: Notes on Why Sci-Hub Is Not Opening Access, The Winnower 3:e145624.49417 (2016). DOI: 10.15200/winn.145624.49417 

You can also download the PDF which is handy for some. Please apologise the remaining typos etc.

The article is leading to significant discussion online. There was this response from Sci-Hub’s Alexandra Elbakyan on her blog. Read the comments (!) for the conversation that ensued.

I remain thankful to everyone reading and commenting, sharing, etc. I may not always be able to acknowledge directly, but all engagement is appreciated.




#citymash: Library and Information Science as Fluid Practice

Arts Emergency badge. Image tweeted by @philgibby
Arts Emergency badge. Image tweeted by @philgibby

The venerable Oxford English Dictionary (online) tells me that part of the definition of the word “fluid” is “having the property of flowing; consisting of particles that move freely among themselves…”; a second definition also includes “flowing or moving readily; not solid or rigid; not fixed…”

These are the parts of the definition that what we’d like to embrace when we say that #citymash, the libraries and technology unconference that #citylis has organised to take place tomorrow Saturday 13 June 2015, will be a “fluid” event. Moreover, the fluidity of #citymash is an expression of a particular understanding of Library and Information Science (LIS) as a discipline, of librarianship as a practice and of information professionals as people.

As my colleagues Lyn Robinson and David Bawden have said in several occasions, LIS has evolved and it is in ongoing evolution. It flows; sometimes it seems it does so dizzyingly fast, others frustratingly slow, but the fact remains that LIS does flow. This fluidity goes beyond the transformations that documents have undergone from the first cave paintings to the latest hybrid immersive experiences; it includes the way we as academics, practitioners and people interested in all aspects of information interact with each other socially, “in real life”.

The unconference model is part of this transformation. In theory, an unconference is a conference organised, structured and led by the people attending it. All attendees and organisers are encouraged to become participants, with discussion leaders providing moderation and structure for attendees. Indeed, unconferences have become popular as an alternative to the panel discussions and keynote speakers featured at traditional conferences.

When I was a PhD student I witnessed not without some envy the first wonderful appearance (in 2008) and eventually skyrocketing  and international success (from 2009 onwards) of THATcamp (the Humanities and Technology Camp). “An open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot”, it was the brainchild of colleagues at the  Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in the United States. (They are also the birthplace of Zotero). Wikipedia kindly reminds me that it was indeed in August 2009 that the first THATCamp was held outside of the George Mason campus at the University of Texas in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists.

Perhaps not coincidentally it was also in 2008 (remember we were in the midst of a serious financial crisis) that the idea of the “Mashed Library” started doing the rounds, thanks to the work of Owen Stephens. By 2010 there had been a series of Mashed Library unconference events and it had been proven that the concept went well beyond Owen sitting on his own in a room with his laptop.

Without pioneers like THATCamp and the Mashed Library events #citymash would not be taking place tomorrow. The inspiring arts and humanities advocacy organisation Arts Emergency has said it very well, “sometimes if you want something to exist you have to make it yourself.” Libraries and universities can be surprisingly conservative and risk-averse. At the same time, paraphrasing Arts Emergency, LIS is a discipine that focuses on experimental thought; libraries and universities can indeed “foster thought beyond the norms of the present. Without the capacity to think beyond repetition there is no beyond to crisis.”

This post is already longer than I intended. The list of initial session leaders for #citymash tomorrow is here. The initial programme is here. There will be practical and discussion sessions on open source implementation, systems librarianship, hands-on Twitter archiving, GoogleRefine, UX, Making in Libraries, Fan Networks, past predictions of the future of the library, 3D printing, storytelling, Markdown, and more. There are also free rooms available for other sessions to be decided on the spot, and a dedicated reflection space throughout the event.

As #citymash is an unconference, timings, topics and proceedings are expected to be fluid. Participants have been asked to bring lunch to share. It will be a social, fun space. It will be fun and it will be flexible, and hopefully it will provide us with an opportunity to learn from each other and to make things ourselves: a space for thinking beyond repetition.

Here’s looking forward to tomorrow!

The #citymash website is at Please note that registration has now closed. Follow the #citymash hashtag for live updates from the day.

#citymash has been supported by the Software Sustainability Institute. The Software Sustainability Institute cultivates world-class research with software. The Institute is based at the universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Southampton and Oxford.

#citymash has been supported by figshare. figshare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner.

This post was originally published at the #citylis blog.

A #comicsunconf15 Twitter Activity Summary and Archive

I am really happy to say the Scottish Comics Unconference Meet-Up last Saturday was a success. I am hoping to be able to write up some of my notes reflecting on the practice of co-organising and participating in this unconference soon.

In the meanwhile, this is what the day (Saturday 28 February 2015) looked like in terms of #comicsunconf15 Tweets:

#comicsunfonf15 Twitter Activity chart  2015-03-02 at 08.20.54

There’s still a live interactive archive of the hashtag here.

Find out more about how many #comicsunconf15 Tweets there were and how many of us tweeted using the hashtag in my post over at the Comics Grid blog.

Source Data

Priego, Ernesto (2015): A #comicsunconf15 Twitter Archive. figshare. Retrieved 10:26, Mar 03, 2015 (GMT)

A #HEFCEmetrics Twitter Archive (Friday 16 January 2015, Warwick)

HEFCE logo

The HEFCE metrics workshop: metrics and the assessment of research quality and impact in the arts and humanities took place on Friday 16 January 2015, 1030 to 1630 GMT at the Scarman Conference Centre, University of Warwick, UK.

I have uploaded a dataset of 821 Tweets tagged with #HEFCEmetrics (case not sensitive):

Priego, Ernesto (2015): A #HEFCEmetrics Twitter Archive (Friday 16 January 2015, Warwick). figshare.

TheTweets in the dataset were publicly published and tagged with #HEFCEmetrics between 16/01/2015 00:35:08 GMT and 16/01/2015 23:19:33 GMT. The collection period corresponds to the day the workshop took place in real time.

The Tweets contained in the file were collected using Martin Hawksey’s TAGS 6.0. The file contains 2 sheets.

Only users with at least 2 followers were included in the archive. Retweets have been included. An initial automatic deduplication was performed but data might require further deduplication.

Please note the data in this file is likely to require further refining and even deduplication. The data is shared as is. The contents of each Tweet are responsibility of the original authors. This dataset is shared to encourage open research into scholarly activity on Twitter. If you use or refer to this data in any way please cite and link back using the citation information above.

For the #HEFCEmetrics Twitter archive corresponding to the one-day workshop hosted by the University of Sussex on Tuesday 7 October 2014, please go to

Priego, Ernesto (2014): A #HEFCEmetrics Twitter Archive. figshare.

You might also be interested in

Priego, Ernesto (2014): The Twelve Days of REF- A #REF2014 Archive. figshare.

#MLA15 Twitter Archive, 8-11 January 2015

130th MLA Annual Convention Vancouver, 8–11 January 2015

#MLA15 is the hashtag which corresponded to the 2015 Modern Language Association Annual Convention. The Convention was held in Vancouver from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 January 2015.

We have uploaded a dataset as a .xlsx file including data from Tweets publicly published with #mla15:

Priego, Ernesto; Zarate, Chris (2015): #MLA15 Twitter Archive, 8-11 January 2015. figshare.

The dataset includes Tweets posted during the actual convention with #mla15: the set starts with a Tweet from Thursday 08/01/2015 00:02:53 Pacific Time and ends with a Tweet from Sunday 11/01/2015 23:59:58 Pacific Time.

The total number of Tweets in this dataset sums 23,609 Tweets. Only Tweets from users with at least two followers were collected.

A combination of Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheets (Martin Hawksey’s TAGS 6.0; available at ) was used to harvest this collection. OpenRefine ( was used for deduplicating the data.

Please note the data in the file is likely to require further refining and even deduplication. The data is shared as is. The dataset is shared to encourage open research into scholarly activity on Twitter. If you use or refer to this data in any way please cite and link back using the citation information above.

For the #MLA14 datasets, please go to
Priego, Ernesto; Zarate, Chris (2014): #MLA14 Twitter Archive, 9-12 January 2014. figshare.