Altmetrics

Last changed: 14 September 2018
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Who is talking about your research? Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, involves new ways to measure the attention that a scientific work receives.

A commonly used method to measure the impact of a published article is to find out how many times it has been cited in other publications.

Citation analysis, however, measures only the impact of the work within the scientific community. In addition, it is a slow method; it depends on other researchers to find the cited article, to react on the findings in it, to write a scientific article where they cite it, and getting the new article published. This can take years.

Altmetrics measures other signs that the work has been noted, for example:

  • Mentions or comments in other media as news articles, blog posts, Facebook comments, tweets, discussion fora for researchers, Wikipedia or authority decisions. What do researchers, but also other interested people, practicians or opinion leaders, think about the publication?
  • Usage measures as number of downloads, savings, "likes" or "shares". This is more mechanical and anonymous, but it might potentially be valuable to know that your publication was perceived by many readers as interesting enough to save.

The sources that are used for altmetrics so far represent only a small fraction of the possible sources, and comparisons or statistics thus become unreliable. For most articles no mentions at all are documented, but they can nevertheless have been widely discussed in other media or saved in other systems than those that so far deliver data to altmetrics.

Where do I find altmetrics?

There are presently two big altmetric systems on the market. The links below leads to examples of how their data are delivered. They have different approaches and can be seen as complementary. Altmetric is focused on mentions and emphasizes transparency. You will find links to the full text of all mentions or comments included in your analysis from Altmetric. PlumX compiles more usage measures and has the ambition to "visualize the electronic footprint" of your publications and other scientific output. The links below leads to examples of how their data are delivered.

Many publishers have installed Article level metrics (ALMs) on their websites, see for example Public Library of Science (PLOS), Nature or Elsevier. Citation analysis and analyses based on one of the available altmetric systems are included. 

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