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Social Media to Promote Research: Tracking Social Media Impact

This guide shows examples of how you can use social media tools and networks to promote your research

What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics are measures that capture the attention a resource generates on the social web, mainstream media, policy diocuments or other sources. They can be applied to journal articles, books/book chapters, software, datasets, websites, videos, etc.

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

Depending on the tool used (, PlumX, ImpactStory etc.) altmetrics can measure different types of engagement from many different sources:

Usage: Views, downloads (Figshare, Dryad, Slideshare)

Captures: Mendeley bookmarks, CiteULike bookmarks

Mentions: Blog posts, news stories, policy documents, Wikipedia articles, comments, reviews

Social Media: Tweets, Facebook mentions, shares

Altmetrics are now displayed on many journal web pages, Research Repository UCD, and can also be analysed using various other tools.

Other Analytics


Image: CC BY SA: dirkcuys

Many social media tools and platforms have analytics tools built-in (e.g. Slideshare, ResearchGate, Twitter) so you can check how many people have viewed your profile or content. This can help you identify who your audience is, what they are interested in, and what type of content gets most attention.

X (formerly Twitter) analytics can be particularly useful to help you identify the best times to tweet (i.e. when your tweets get most "impressions"), and what type of content to tweet (which tweets get most "engagements").

You can also add Google Analytics to your blog or personal webpage to track how many people are visiting and where they are coming from. This can help to indicate impact, particularly with non-academic audiences.

Altmetric Providers and Tools



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:

Impact Story