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Bibliometrics: Altmetrics

All about bibliometrics, and how you can make your research output more visible.

What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics (or alternative metrics) capture the attention a resource (e.g. a journal article, book, webpage etc.) generates on the social web or other sources. They attempt to show the influence of, and engagement with, research across mainstream media, twitter, blogs, scholarly social networks, and other platforms.

These metrics complement traditional metrics such as citation counts to capture broader aspects of impact e.g. engagement from outside the academic community.

Altmetrics are now available to view on many journal and publisher websites, as well as through third party tools such as Altmetric.com, Impact Story, and Plum Analytics.

What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics are measures that capture the attention a resource generates on the social web or other sources.

They can be applied to journal articles, books/book chapters, software, datasets, websites, videos, etc.

Altmetrics attempt to show influence and engagement of work through blogs, reference management systems, scholarly social networks, and other platforms.

They are metrics that complement traditional metrics such as citation counts to capture the impact within the scholarly community and beyond.

What Data Sources do Altmetrics Track?

Depending on the tool in use (Altmetric.com, PlumX, ImpactStory etc.) altmetrics can measure different types of attention from many different sources:

Usage: Views, downloads

Mentions: News stories, book reviews, policy documents, blog posts, Wikipedia articles, comments

Captures: Mendeley bookmarks, CiteULike bookmarks

Social Media: Tweets, Facebook shares, YouTube

Citations: Scopus, Web of Science

Why Use Altmetrics?

Speed: Altmetrics can accumulate more quickly than traditional metrics such as citations.

Range: Altmetrics can be gathered for many types of research output, not just scholarly articles, and help to provide a more holistic picture of impact using broader indicators to complement citations.

Non-academic: Altmetrics can show the attention and negagement outside the academic world, where people may use but not cite research e.g. practitioner or societal impact

Caveats & Limitations:

  • Standards remain at an early and ongoing state of development
  • Like other metrics, they can be open to manipulation and gaming
  • Popularity (attention) does not always equal quality of research
  • Data sources come and go so may be difficult to track over time in a meaningful way (e.g. MySpace, Connotea)

Altmetric Providers and Tools

altmetric

Subscription access to Altmetric Explorer is provided by UCD Research & Innovation.

PlumX

PlumX Metrics, provided by Elsevier, capture the ways people interact with individual pieces of research output (articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, and many more) in the online environment. 

"Plum Prints" displaying article usage, mentions, citations and shares are available to access through the Scopus database for items indexed in Scopus.

Impact Story

What Sources Does Altmetric.com Track?

Source: Altmetric.com

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