For those of you that were indeed under a rock: a few hours after Neil Hall‘s comment introducing ‘The Kardashian index: a measure of discrepant social media profile for scientists‘ was published on Genome Biology (30/07/2014), the #AlternateScienceMetrics hashtag was born.
In the following hours, an impressive number of tweets challenged the supremacy of the newly-born K-index. Real people, fictional characters and entire books/films became conceptual metaphors of scientific publishing, usually with comical outcomes. I am reading some of them some ~24 h later, and I believe there’s more to it than meets the eye.
They can be broadly categorised into 4 groups (below a few representative tweets, with apologies to all those I had to exclude):
Jon shares with Alex Wild the ‘guilt’ of kicking off the #AlternateScienceMetrics hashtag
By scrolling the #AlternateScienceMetrics page and Graham Steel‘s excellent compendium on storify, it looks like Neil’s comment spawned a healthy and ironic self-criticism of the difficulties, upsets and unfairness of scientific publishing. The scientific community (its Twitter-friendly subset, to be accurate) refuted the ‘One Metric to Rule Them All’ approach with a social laughter , and might be now ready to sit down and rationally tackle the problem. If the same enthusiasm was used to collectively develop a plausible** alternative metric , #IF & co would be replaced much faster.