Altmetrics - research in news and social media

Last changed: 02 February 2024

Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, summarizes ways of tracking the attention a scientific work is given in society and in the media. Through a service provided by SLU, you can access altmetrics for your own research.

The traditional way of measuring the influence of a published article – citation analysis – focuses on citations within the academic community. Altmetrics centres on other indications that the work has gained attention, for example:

  • Mentions in other media, such as news articles, blog posts, Facebook comments, tweets, discussions in research forums, Wikipedia, government investigations and acts.
  • Measures of usage, for example, the number of times a publication has been downloaded or saved to other systems. These ways of measuring are more mechanical , but it can be useful to know if the publication raised enough awareness to get people to seek it out and save it.

How to find altmetrics

At the moment, the two most notable companies providing altmetric services are Altmetric and PlumX. See examples of what they provide:

Several publishers have installed metrics on the article level (Article level metrics, ALMs) on their websites. In this measurement, both traditional citings and analyses from one of the altmetrics companies are taken into account. Examples:

How to make your research visible in altmetric measurements

The sources currently used in altmetric measurements are so far only a small part of the possible sources, and for that reason, using altmetrics for comparisons and statistics is unreliable. Many scientific articles have no mentions or recorded savings registered simply because they have been mentioned in media and saved in systems that do not deliver data to altmetrics. You can increase the chances of your research being recorded in altmetric measurements by for example:

  • Publish articles with a permanent identifier, f.x. DOI and ISBN. To be included in altmetric measurements, it is important that the commenting text also includes the identifier.
  • Notify Altmetric of comments that haven’t been recorded. When possible, they add the source.
  • Publish open access.
  • Register an ORCID and keep it updated.
  • Write a popular summary, press release or commentary and publish on social media. It is easier for others to comment if the discussion has already been started.

The library subscribes to Altmetric – how to get access

SLU subscribes to data from Altmetric. This means that you as an SLU employee get full access to every mention Altmetrics has collected about SLU publications. The data can be visualized in several ways. One possibility is, for example, to place Altmetric badges by the references in publication lists. In Altmetrics’ database Explorer you can create summaries of mentions for publications from whole projects or departments. Most mentions, from Twitter to policy documents, are available in full text.

You can get your own login to Altmetric Explorer by contacting the library. We can also assist you if you would like data for a larger overview or other projects.