Altmetrics provide data about attention and engagement with your research outputs. They can be calculated from a range of sources, commonly divided into five categories:
- Usage, such as views, downloads or library holdings
- Captures, such as bookmarks or favourites
- Mentions, such as blog posts, comments, news articles, Wikipedia links, or reviews
- Social media, such as tweets, likes or shares
- Citations from other published sources such as journal articles, policy and clinical citations.
It is important to note that altmetrics don’t measure impact but allow you to build a narrative of engagement that may lead to impact. They are complementary metrics that shouldn’t be considered in isolation.
Like citation metrics, altmetrics have a range of benefits and limitations that you need to consider:
- Particularly useful for measuring engagement with non-traditional research outputs or engagement from non-academic audiences that is not easily captured through bibliometrics
- Immediately available, unlike citations which can take years to emerge
- Automatically provided for uploads on sites like Figshare or in some research databases
- Altmetrics scores are not meaningful in isolation. It is necessary to provide context, such as saying “It is the fourth most downloaded article from the archive.”
- Each altmetrics provider only tracks certain sources or outlets. Check help pages for details
- A DOI or other identifier is required to track engagement
- No indication of whether attention was positive or negative
Priem, J., Taraborelli, D., Groth, P., & Neylon, C. (2010, October 26), Altmetrics: a manifesto.