I've mentioned Mendeley before. They refer to themselves as a Last.fm for science papers, but I think it'll be much more.
One thing they realize they are changing, as a side effect, is the impact factor (sort of like a Page Rank of science papers, based on incoming links (citations) to the paper and the journal).
At a higher level then, Mendeley’s significance isn’t just about real-time impact factors and article-level metrics. It’s about using technology for the first time to crowd source data and forever change how research is done. That is why I’m crazy enough to move half-way around the world. Mendeley literally isn’t just another “Silicon Valley” start-up.
Spot on. When I heard Victor (one of the founders) talk about this at Next09 I practically jumped out of my seat.
Thompsons was set up in an age when you needed someone to manually go through references and such and report to the community. That's probably part of the reason it takes three years to establish an impact factor. [I pointed this out already a while back.]
PLoS and BMC, who imported the broken authority model from the print world, missed an opportunity in the past 10 years to upturn Thomspons world. So, it's good to hear that PLoS is starting to be transparent in their traffic and links, providing the start of a new way to look at authority.
One thing: being a bit publisher-minded, I, myself, missed the other side effect of opening up stats that could show authority – basically, such transparency might be able to highlight a high-impact paper from an obscure journal. In the traditional world, that paper would have been buried by the journal's own impact factor.
Yeah, we need to open up these stats on a real-time paper level. There's no reason not to do it.
(and go read the rest of the article on Mendeley's site)
Image from wikipedia, on Page Rank