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Altmetrics: Alternative Metrics for Measuring the Impact of Research

Collage of words describing altmetrics

Definition

Altmetrics are metrics that measure the amount of attention research is receiving online.  This data can be useful for monitoring your personal impact with other scholars, practitioners, policy makers and the public.

Advantages

  • Altmetrics accumulate faster compared to traditional citation counts
  • Altmetrics can be expanded beyond books and articles to include software, videos, presentations, posters and more
  • Altmetrics provide a broader measurement for impact of research which is something funders and university administrators are starting to note
  • Altmetrics can be used to augment traditional metrics

Limitations

  • Altmetrics can be easily distorted or misinterpreted
  • Almetrics are attention indicators that may not be measuring scholarly quality or impact

Altmetrics and citation rates

Researchers have found links between scientists' public engagement and citation rates and  between high altmetric scores and increased citation counts.

Examples

  • Discussion--Twitter, Facebook, blogs
  • News--News outlets, newspapers, wire services
  • Shares--Twitter, Facebook
  • Views and downloads- publisher website, repositories
  • Ratings--Amazon.com, Speaker Deck
  • Likes/dislikes--Youtube, Slideshare
  • Holdings--Worldcat (number of libraries worldwide which own a particular book)