Bibliometrics & Responsible Research Evaluation: Altmetrics
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.
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)
What Data Sources do Altmetrics Track?
Depending on the tool (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
Altmetric Providers and Tools
- Altmetric ExplorerThe subscription-based Altmetric Explorer enables an institution to track the attention that publications (and other research outputs) by individual researchers or schools/institutes get in social media and other sources. Access Provided by UCD Research.
- Altmetric Bookmarklet for ResearchersThis free bookmarklet can be used by individual researchers to see how much attention an article got online.
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.
You can also add a specific doi to the end of this URL to display a selection of Plum metrics: https://plu.mx/a/?doi=
- SCOPUSA comprehensive database for scientific, technical and medical information.
- ImpactStoryRegistration required - an open-source, web-based tool that helps researchers explore and share the diverse impacts of all their research products--traditional ones like journal articles, but also alternative products like blog posts, datasets, and software.