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Research Impact Guide: AltMetrics

Use this guide to find information about: Overview of Research Metrics; Journal Impact Factor; Author Impact (h-index); Researcher Profile & Alternative Metrics

What is Altmetrics?

The Internet has transformed scholarly communication, including the traditional process of measuring the impact of published research. Altmetrics is the alternative metric to using only journal impact factor and personal indices (e.g. the H-index) to quantify the reach and impact of publications of individual researchers. It has its roots in the twitter #altmetrics hashtag since 2010. Altmetrics does not substitute citation counts or the H-index, but complements the article impact within the scholarly community and beyond. Citations are slow to accumulate and often overlook new forms of scholarly content through datasets, software and scholarly blogs.

How to measure Altmetrics

Altmetric tools allow researchers to collect and share the broad impact of their research. Below are some of the more popular tools:

LSE Impact Blog

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Advantages to Altmetics

  1. A clearer understanding of impact, showing which scholarly work are read, discussed, saved and suggested, as well as cited.
  2. It offers more current data, viewing impact of it in days, instead of years.
  3. Keep track on the impact of online scholarly products like datasets, software, blog posts and videos.
  4. It shows the impacts on diverse audiences, from scholars to practitioners, clinicians, educators and the general public.

[Taken from: Altmetrics: What, Why and Where?]

Scholarly peer networks

What is Article-Level Metrics?

Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) provides a more informed view of the performance and reach of an article. Its impact indicators capture how many times an article has been bookmarked, blogged about or cited in Wikipedia.  It also captures favourites and news stories and measures the usage of social media like Twitter, Google plus and Facebook. These metrics provide the ability to navigate and discover the work of other researchers.

An example of ALMs used in journals published by the Public Library of Science:

Publishers and information providers using ALMs

Altmetrics and Open Access

There is an association between altmetrics and open access, as data comes from open sources. Altmetrics can be embedded into institutional repositories or third-party systems. Open access research outputs are promoted via social web applications and has higher visibility and accessibility than those published within subscription-based journals. This may increase the level of engagement by the public.

Picture credit: art designer at PLoS [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons