Alternative Metrics (Altmetrics)

While metrics like the h-index, citation counts, and the impact factor of journals demonstrate research influence in the academic realm, altmetrics, a relatively newer measure, can show the more immediate impact of work in a social realm. Alternative metrics are meant to complement traditional impact measures.

Altmetrics include social media activity, coverage in media outlets, and inclusion in policy documents or scholarly commentary, among other types of activity. Departments and disciplines currently incorporate altmetrics into tenure and promotion decisions variably; check with your department for guidance on best practices.

Examples of alternative metrics services include:

Aggregates altmetrics from numerous sources and generates a single report. Profiles in Impactstory are free with an

Collects discussions related to specific articles from Twitter, Facebook, science blogs, mainstream news outlets and other sources, and facilitates browsing or searching and filtering of the data to monitor the attention that an article is receiving (several pricing plans, free bookmarklet).

A suite of measures that can be used to track the research impact of individual articles (instead of journals) over time. PLoS provides usage (downloads), citations, social networking activity (e.g., social bookmarks, Facebook, Twitter), blogs and media coverage, and readers' comments for articles published in its journals.

  • PlumX (subscription required for certain services)

A suite of tools tracking artifacts such as journal articles, books, videos, conference proceedings, and datasets.

​Install bookmarklet in your bookmarks toolbar in Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, then get one-click article-level metrics when reading an online journal article.

Embed code to create the colorful Altmetric 'donut' for a particular article using its DOI, PMID, or other unique ID.

"Noteworthy" altmetrics apps.

For more information or assistance, email Research Metrics Team or Ask Us.