About Altmetric Explorer

Altmetrics (alternative metrics) track the attention a researcher's output receives beyond traditional metrics, such as through social media, news sites and blogs.

  • What are altmetrics?

    Altmetrics (alternative metrics) are metrics and qualitative data that are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics. They measure the online attention received by research outputs, including through tracking of news sites, blogs, social media sites and other web sources. Altmetrics are now appearing on journal and article webpages, researchers’ websites, institutional repositories and more.

    To learn more about altmetrics, see The Altmetrics manifesto by Jason Priem et al, 2010

  • Showcasing the attention and influence of your research

    Altmetrics are often referred to as if they are a single class of indicator, but they’re actually quite diverse and include:

    • A record of attention: eg mentions in the news, blogs, and on Twitter; article pageviews and downloads; GitHub repository watchers.
    • A measure of dissemination: eg coverage in the news; social sharing and blog features.
    • An indicator of influence and impact: eg references in public policy documents; or commentary from experts and practitioners.
  • Advantages

    Altmetrics have a number of advantages over citation-based metrics:

    • They are quicker to accumulate than citation-based metrics: altmetrics can monitor and collate mentions of work online as soon as it’s published.
    • They can capture more diverse impacts than citation-based metrics: altmetrics can complement citations in that they help you to understand the many ‘flavours’ of impact research can have.
    • They apply to more than journal articles and books: altmetrics can track data, software, presentations, and other online scholarly outputs.
  • How to use altmetrics

    Some important things to bear in mind when using altmetrics include:

    • Context is king: eg “This article has received 89 Mendeley bookmarks, putting it in the 98th percentile compared to articles of a similar age and subject”.
    • Qualitative data is usually more illuminating than metrics alone: eg “This software has been mentioned in 32 news outlets worldwide, including the New York Times and The Guardian.”
    • Altmetrics are a great supplement to citations: Citations are still the most recognised proxy for impact in many disciplines. Create a more comprehensive picture of research influence by including both types of metrics together where possible.
  • Limitations

    There are a number of limitations to the use of altmetrics:

    • Altmetrics don’t tell the whole story: Altmetrics are a complement to, not a replacement for, things like informed peer review and citation-based metrics.
    • Like any metric, there’s a potential for gaming of altmetrics: It is possible to artificially inflate altmetrics scores. That’s why altmetrics providers like Altmetric, PLOS and SSRN have measures in place to identify and correct for gaming.
    • Altmetrics are relatively new, more research into their use is needed: Though we’re learning a lot about how often research is shared online, we don’t yet know a lot about why–more research is needed. Until we know more, use and interpret altmetrics carefully.

    This information and much more can be found on the Altmetric website.

  • What other products are there?

    Some other tools include:

    • ImpactStory website - set up your profile for free then track mentions
    • Kudos website - set up your profile for free, then describe your research, share it and measure impact
    • Plum X Analytics - available within Scopus website and Ebscohost website literature databases

    Other products which measure alternative metrics are listed at the altmetrics tools website site.