Today's scholarly community is examining alternative metrics.
There are two contributing forces:
(1) qualitative analysis of researcher output for advancement in the academy
(2) quantitative assessment of grant funded projects by demonstrating a direct return on investments
Altmetrics is the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship.
"Alternative metrics — referred to as “altmetrics” — are a suite of assessment criteria and measures that are being developed, particularly in the scientific and academic communities, to assess the importance of a particular work of scholarly output in a new way."
Todd Carpenter, Executive Director of NISO