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Measuring Research Impact and Quality: Alternative Metrics

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Altmetrics--Alternative Metrics

Collage of words describing altmetrics


Altmetrics are metrics for social media mentions and uses of scholarly output.  This data can be useful for monitoring your personal impact with other scholars, practitioners, policy makers and the public.

For a good overview read the following article: 
Rise of 'Altmetrics' Revives Questions About How to Measure Impact of Research Chronicle of Higher Education (June 3, 2013)


  • 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


  • 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 a link between scientists' public engagement and citation rates.  See Building Buzz (Scientists) Communicating Science in New Media Environments published in Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly (2014) for details.


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

For additional information contact:

Janice Dysart, Science Librarian (Guide creator)

Diane Johnson, Assistant Director of Health Sciences Library Information Services & Resources