What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics or alternative metrics are complementary metrics that work alongside traditional metrics such as number of documents, number of citations, category normilised citation impact, open access status, etc., to produce a comprehensive picture of how research is being received around the world.

What is Altmetric?

Altmetric is a third party website that can help researchers to discover the reach and impact of their research through news outlets, policy documents, academic and social media attention.

What sources does Altmetric track?

• News outlets
• ​Social media and blogs
• Post-publication peer review websites
• Reference managers such as Mendeley
• Policy documents
• Other sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Reddit

How does it work?

Since most publications are now electronic the Altmetric Explorer can track publications through digital object identifiers (DOIs) to see how many times a publication is accessed, used, and shared. These numbers provide a more complete picture, beyond citations, to demonstrate the reach and impact of research and scholarship.

Altmetrics can answer questions such as:

  • Where has an article received the most traction?
  • Who is reading or commenting on a publication?
  • Was a publication covered by any news agencies?
  • Which countries are engaging most with the content?
  • Are other researchers commenting on this research?
  • How many times were details about a publication shared?
  • Has this article influenced policy, spurred new research, or engaged a new audience?
  • Are reactions to this article positive or negative?

What are the advantages to using altmetrics?

Altmetrics have a number of advantages over citation-based metrics:

  • They are quicker to accumulate than citation-based metrics
  • They can capture more diverse impacts than citation-based metrics
  • They apply to data, software, presentations, and other scholarly outputs as well as journal articles and books

What are the limitations of Altmetrics?

  • Altmetrics are a complement to, not a replacement for, things like informed peer review and citation-based metrics.
  • Like any metric, there’s a potential for gaming of altmetrics: look at the underlying qualitative data to see who has been talking about the research, and what they’ve been saying.
  • Altmetrics are relatively new, and there is still a lot to learn.

How can you promote your publications?

  • Create a short summary of your work which includes your key research outcomes and links to useful additional resources such as videos, then use this summary to promote your research.
  • Blog, post or tweet about your article and engage with co-authors or colleagues.
  • Engage with your communications and marketing team to see if there is an opportunity to create a news story for the university web pages
  • Talk about your paper at conferences and connect online with colleagues in your research community.

How else can the Altmetric be used?

The Altmetric Explorer provides a number of tools for researchers including badges, bookmarklet and an API

Altmetric Badges can be embedded into personal web pages to highlight specific papers or research which has received online attention; an example of this is shown below:

Sub-national government and pathways to sustainable energy; Published in Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, September 2017; DOI 10.1177/2399654417730359



More informaiton about Altmetric for Researchers can be found at