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.
Altmetric tools allow researchers to collect and share the broad impact of their research. Below are some of the more popular tools:
[Taken from: Altmetrics: What, Why and Where?]
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:
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