Thousands of conversations about scholarly content happen online every day. Altmetric tracks a range of sources to capture and collate this activity, helping you to monitor and report on the attention surrounding the work you care about.
Altmetric offers services to help you monitor, browse, search, filter and measure all of the conversations collected about your journal’s articles, as well as those published by your competitors.
Altmetric can help to add value to libraries and institutional repositories. By integrating article level metrics into academic activities, faculty, staff and students will see a richer picture of online research impact.
Altmetric can help you discover new scholarly articles in hundreds of disciplines. Use the free Altmetric Bookmarklet to monitor the online discussions and dissemination of your own research.
Altmetric data can provide a unique record of how funded research has been received and disseminated amongst different audiences around the world, and where it is having an influence on public policy.
Welcome to the Altmetric training session! Today I’m going to run you through an introduction to altmetrics, and provide an overview of the tools provided by Altmetric. It doesn’t matter if you’ve used the tools before or you’re completely new to altmetrics, this session is designed as an introduction to Altmetric, the tools available, and ideas for how you can use altmetrics to track attention to your own research.
Here’s a overview of the points we’ll cover in the session today, beginning with an introduction to altmetrics. We’ll also discuss the tools provided by Altmetric, including the Altmetric bookmarklet, and the Altmetric badges embedded on publisher platforms and institutional repositories. We’ll round up with tips and ticks for using Altmetric data, and suggestions for getting more help and information about altmetrics.
Here are the learning goals for today’s session.
Briefly defined, alternative metrics, or altmetrics are indicators of impact and engagement with research that extend beyond traditional methods of influence measurement, such as citations. Altmetrics measure and surface attention to research in non-traditional sources such as news, blogs, policy documents and social media. Altmetrics are complementary to traditional forms of research evaluation, and help provide a more coherent, well-rounded understanding of the way in which research is being received and used in broader society. Altmetrics aren’t an alternative to traditional bibliometrics or peer review, but help tell another part of the story.
Today, there is a much greater focus on the impact of research on society, and researchers and universities want to see where their work is gaining traction, the conversations surrounding papers and how research funding has had potential impact. Altmetrics help provide a granular level of insight by surfacing those conversations about any type of research output with a persistent identifier in broader society. As soon as a research output has a persistent identifier, such as a DOI or Handle, Altmetric can follow it across the sources tracked, such as social media, news and policy. This helps provide early insight into research attention, rather than waiting for citations to accrue. Altmetrics also help researchers get credit and recognition for a broad range of outputs.
Altmetric helps you track attention to a paper as soon as it has a DOI, and it’s also useful for early career researchers who may not yet have accrued citations.
This slide provides an overview of the data tracked by Altmetric. Each day we track 44,000 new mentions of research outputs across a range of sources including news, policy documents, social media, Wikipedia, reference managers, etc. That’s one mention every two seconds, and 50,000 unique items shared every week. A mention can range in complexity, from a tweet linking to a research paper or a comprehensive review of a research output in a blog post.
This is a summary of the sources tracked by Altmetric. We track a range of sources including news, social media, blogs, post-publication peer review sites, Wikipedia and policy documents. For more information, see our page: http://support.altmetric.com/knowledgebase/articles/83335-which-data-sources-does-altmetric-track
Firstly, Altmetric aggregates online attention around research papers by following a list of attention sources, e.g. news or blogs. When a link to a research output is shared across a source of attention we track, e.g. in a news story or shared on Twitter, we follow the link to the item and search the publication page for metadata, e.g. DOI. Next, we add details of the mention to the Altmetric Details Page for that item. Think of the Altmetric Details Page as a Library Catalog record: if we have tracked attention to a research output, we create a record in the database listing all mentions for that output. We also collate attention for different versions of an item – so if a repository version and a publisher version of a paper is shared, we will recognise the item and link all of its mentions.
The Altmetric Bookmarklet allows you to check the altmetrics of a research paper just by clicking on the button in your toolbar when you’re reading a paper online.
This is an Altmetric details page, which shows the online attention and activity that we’ve found for this piece of scholarly content. The details page can be access by click on the donut badge in the Bookmarklet, or by clicking on the donut on a publisher article page or institutional repository.
On this details page, you can see all the conversations surrounding the content in one place. Altmetric collects relevant mentions from social media sites, newspapers, policy documents, blogs, Wikipedia, and many other sources. (Click the help icon located on every tab to find out more about each source of attention.) To help you put the data in context, we've given the article an Altmetric score, which is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. The scoring algorithm takes various factors into account, such as the relative reach of the different sources of attention.
The Altmetric donut is a visual representation of the attention an output has received. The colours themselves reflect where the posts mentioning the output came from. For example, red means that the article has been mentioned by mainstream news outlets, blue means it has been tweeted about. You can hover the mouse cursor over a visualization to see the appropriate legend and a summary of the mentions for an output.
The Altmetric score is intended to provide an indicator of the attention surrounding a research output. Although it may be straightforward enough to monitor the attention surrounding one research output, for example, it becomes harder to identify where to focus your efforts when looking at a larger set. The number alone can of course not tell you anything about what prompted the attention, where it came from, or what people were saying, but it does at least give you a place to start – “is there online activity around this research output that would be worth investigating further?”
The Altmetric score is an automatically calculated, weighted algorithm. It is based on 3 main factors:
1. The volume of the mentions (how many were there?) 2. The source of the mentions (were they high-profile news stories, re-tweets, or perhaps a Wikipedia reference?) 3. The author of the mentions (was it the journal publisher, or an influential academic?)
Combined, the score represents a weighted approximation of all the attention we’ve picked up for a research output, rather than a raw total of the number of mentions.
By analysing the underlying qualitative data – the mentions and discussions – we can further understand successful research dissemination, support researchers making the case for grant funding or promotion and provide a broader, more coherent understanding of the potential impact of research on society. Reading the mentions for a research outputs helps you understand the type of attention has received, whether the attention is positive or negative, or if the paper has gained traction in a particular country. You’ll never be able to gain this level of insight by looking only at the Altmetric score.
The donut never tells you quality. It measures attention. A high number or low number – as well as the colors around the donut – only make sense within a deeper dive into the data that Altmetric provides.
Help researchers to uncover unknown and early attention to their work from date of publication. Use the “Get email updates when this article is shared” on the Altmetric Details page to receive a regular email alert whenever we track a new mention for that item across our sources. This is similar to setting a search alert in Google Scholar, for example. This is an easy way for to monitor mentions to new articles soon after publication.
Remember: look beyond the numbers. It’s always important to dig deeper to the underlying mentions in order to understand how a research output has been received and used. This example, of a policy guideline advising professionals about best practice for treating children with eczema, demonstrates the value of considering the quality of the mention rather than looking only at the score.
Use the bookmarklet or check out the metrics page on a publisher platform to see the Altmetric data for that article – you might want to share the most interesting ones with your working groups or students.
Include examples of research attention when reporting back to funders or in grant applications.
Use the bookmarklet or access the details pages via donuts on publisher pages to see who else is talking about research in your field – an opportunity to identify potential new collaborators
Find all the information you need to embed the Altmetric badges on our website: http://www.altmetric.com/badges.php
Further examples of how other institutions are using Altmetric and the data provided
Thanks for coming along to this Altmetric session!
Introduction to Altmetrics and Almetric - Mahantesh Biradar
In this session, we’ll cover…
Introduction to altmetrics
Altmetrics use cases
Examples of using altmetrics data
By the end of this session…
• A clear understanding of altmetrics and how to use them
• How to identify research with attention using Altmetric’s tools
• Practical ideas and examples of using altmetrics data
• Know where to get further help
Journal Impact Factor
Number of publications
o Attention to research outputs in non-traditional sources, e.g. policy
documents, news, blogs and social media
o Indicators of research impact
o Help understand how research is being received and used
o Complementary to traditional citation-based analysis
What are altmetrics?
Mentions in news reports
References in policy
Mentions in social media
o Provide a more coherent understanding of research attention
o Understand the broader reach and early impact of research
o Track attention to a broad range of research outputs, including
articles, posters, data sets and working papers, etc.
o Help researchers get credit for impact activities
Advantages of metrics for single
Real-time, immediate feedback on attention to
Useful for early career researchers whose work may
not have accrued citations
Showcase attention to a research output beyond
Not biased by an over-arching metric
Each day, we track
mentions of research
across sources incl.
social media, news,
and policy docs.
That’s 1 mention
every 2 seconds!
Mentions range in
quick shares to
Altmetric data, March 2015
Altmetric in numbers: mentions and shares
What sources does Altmetric track?
• Over 1,300 sites
• Manually curated list
• Text mining
• Global coverage
• Twitter, Facebook,
Google+, Sina Weibo
• Public posts only
• Manually curated list
• Mendeley, CiteULike
• Reader counts
• Don’t count towards the
• NICE Evidence
• Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change
• Many more…
How does Altmetric aggregate online attention?
Search for links
Follow a list of
Display data in
E.g. blogs, news, policy
documents, social media.
searching and text
mentioned items across
Collecting attention data
Reporting attention data
Altmetric Details Page.
All research outputs with
mentions have an Altmetric
Details Page in our
The Altmetric Bookmarklet
The free Bookmarklet lets you instantly
retrieve altmetrics data for any article.
To install, go to: http://altmetric.it
Altmetric Details Pages
Estimate attention with the “Altmetric score”.
Monitor mentions in the mainstream news.
See all the conversations and mentions.
What is the Altmetric donut?
The Altmetric donut visualizes which are sources discussing an item.
In the Altmetric Explorer, hover the cursor over the donut visualization to
see the appropriate legend for an item.
Each source is colour coded:
Volume Sources Authors
The score for an article rises as
more people mention it.
Each source category
contributes a different base
amount to the final score.
How often the author of each
mention talks about scholarly
articles influences the
contribution of the mention.
What is the Altmetric score of attention?
The Altmetric score provides an indicator of the attention surrounding a
It represents a weighted approximation of all the attention we’ve picked up for a
research output and is is calculated according to three facets:
Read more about the score here: altmetric.com/blog/scoreanddonut/
What can the data tell you?
What type of attention is this research
Where has this article received the most
Which countries are engaging most with
Has this article influenced policy, spurred
new research, or engaged a new audience?
Are reactions to this article positive or negative?
Remember that the numbers don’t tell
Quality of the paper
Quality of the researchers
Uncover conversations about your research
Set up email alerts for
your output in the
Cochrane Library paper investigated use of probiotics to
treat eczema: There is not enough evidence to recommend
using probiotics for the treatment of eczema.
The paper has a relatively low score of attention but
received mentions across policy documents and
• Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health -
Allergy Care Pathways for Children: core
competency for health professionals treating
children with eczema
Discovering policy references
• Support researchers in all of the above
• Enhance department liaison activities
• Encourage staff to deposit in your research information
How are institutions using Altmetric?
• Track attention to your research immediately
• Uncover (unknown) conversations about your research
• Use in grant applications & funder reporting
• Identify research to promote
• Evaluate success of promotion activities
• Identify key researchers
• Integrate data into your existing performance reports
• Identify key impacts across institution (i.e. policy docs)
• Benchmarking (thoughtfully!)