Scholarly Impact Metrics

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What are Altmetrics?

Social Media. By Ibrahim.ID  CC BY-SA 4.0

Altmetrics, short for Alternative Metrics, measure the impact of research using social media, such as

  • Usage : clicks, downloads, views
  • Social Media - likes, shares, or tweets
  • Captures - bookmarks, favorites, followers
  • Mentions - blog posts, reviews, comments, or ratings

Altmetrics are often used to measure the impact of gray literature or materials that are not formally published, such as posters and working papers. They can also be used to provide more information about the reach of published articles and books.

It is unlikely that altmetrics will supplant traditional metrics as the measure of research impact. However, altmetrics can demonstrate the reach and interest in a topic from the public, practitioners, and policy makers

Caveat about using altmetrics to evaluate impact: Authors should refrain from judging the impact of a work based on the altmetrics numbers. Digging into who is saying what about the work may provide more reliable information about the quality and influence of a work.

Altmetric Badges

Many journal publishers and database producers are now adding Altmetric badges to their products. Below is a sample article from the journal, PNAS.

Click on the "See more details" link to go to the Altmetric page for the article, which provides links to all the media that make up the Altmetric badge.

Altmetric Tools