Altmetrics are measures of attention and conversation surrounding research outputs that supplement traditional bibliometric measures. They allow researchers to better understand how their work is being discussed, shared, saved, read, and reused by other scholars and the public.
Altmetrics are sourced from many web services including:
They allow researchers to track any published research output with a unique identifier such as a DOI including articles, datasets, software and multimedia presentations.
Many altmetrics are closely tied to open access as they rely on freely available information from the web, so if your research is available through open access journals it is more likely to be discovered by these different products.
Altmetrics are useful for helping researchers build a narrative about their research for grant applications and promotions and for developing effective dissemination and engagement strategies.
Altmetric scores are indicators rather than measures of impact. They shouldn’t be used to benchmark or compare between researchers or across disciplines. Rather, they draw attention to outputs that have a high level of attention and allow researchers to dig down and explore how people are engaging with their research.
They are especially useful for:
There is a huge array of altmetrics tools emerging into the market at the moment. Some are built into publication platforms, like the PLOS journals, others are stand-alone products.
A key tool is the altmetric donut. It is useful because it:
(Adapted under CC BY from The Ultimate Guide to Altmetrics (for researchers))
Discussions about altmetrics on the Impact of Social Sciences blog
Altmetric for Institutions allows researchers, funders and universities to use the Altmetric Explorer to track, analyse and leverage research at the article level, reflecting online attention often long before citations appear.
How can individual researchers use Altmetric for Institutions?
To access Altmetric Explorer’s full functionality, create an account using your @unsw.edu.au email address. When logged in to this account, you can:
Altmetric for Institutions is able to track mentions of any research output that has a unique identifier such as a DOI, arXiv ID or PubMed ID. It relies on author affiliation data supplied by ROS, therefore it is important to keep ROS up to date and ensure DOIs are included in your ROS publication records where possible.