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What are Altmetrics?
Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, are new measures that take into account online reader behavior, network interactions with content, and social media. Altmetrics are meant to complement, not completely replace, traditional impact measures and are measures of online attention and engagement.
Examples of Altmetrics include:
- mentions on Facebook, Twitter, or online news sites
- exports to citation management systems like Mendeley or Zotero
- downloads (of full text articles, software, etc.)
- comments in blogs or other online forums
Strengths of Altmetrics
- Currency - Altmetrics can be gathered and calculated immediately, compared with traditional citations that accumulate slowly.
- Diversity - Altmetrics capture data from a variety of sources, not just the traditional academic publishing setting, and thus may reflect the broader impact of research beyond the scholarly community. Additionally, altmetrics can be captured for research outputs beyond articles, like data sets, software, molecular structures, etc.
Altmetrics in Scopus
Scopus is a large, interdisciplinary article database that is a good source of traditional impact measures (citation counts, author impact, journal impact). Scopus has incorporated article-level altmetrics via a third-party application. A summary of article-level metrics displays in the right sidebar of an article's detail page (the page you see when you click the linked title in the search results). The summary includes field-weighted benchmarking and a link to an expanded view of the metrics.
Here is an example from Scopus: At the time of this writing, this article, Thelwall M, Haustein S, Larivière V, Sugimoto CR. Do Altmetrics Work? Twitter and Ten Other Social Web Services. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(5), had been cited 84 times and had the following altmetrics:
Using Altmetrics to Show Research Impact
Other Sources of Altmetrics
Install bookmarklet in your bookmarks toolbar in Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, then get one-click article-level metrics when reading an online journal article.
Open-source, web-based tool that helps scientists "tell data-driven stories about their impacts." The founders are active in the almetrics community and hope to help build a "new scholarly reward system that values and encourages web-native scholarship." Profiles in Impactstory require a paid subscription, though there are free trials.
Embeddable Altmetric Badges
Embed code to create the colorful Altmetric 'donut' for a particular article using its DOI, PMID, or other unique ID.
"Noteworthy" altmetrics apps.
Company that collects impact metrics in 5 major categories: usage, captures, mentions, social media, and citations. Tracks data for research outputs including journal articles, books, videos, presentations, conference proceedings, datasets, source code, cases, and more.