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Altmetric: Getting Started with Article-Level Metrics


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This is a quick-start guide to the insights that may be gained from article-level metrics of scholarly papers. This presentation was authored by Jean Liu (, with data from Euan Adie. Examples from the Altmetric blog ( are shown. For more information, visit Altmetric (

Published in: Technology, News & Politics

Altmetric: Getting Started with Article-Level Metrics

  1. 1. Getting Started withArticle-Level | @altmetricJean Liu and Euan Adie
  2. 2. Every researcher is a communicatorWithin academiaPresentations and seminarsFunding and ethics applicationsJournal articles and postersTerm papers and essaysMeetings and conferencesCorrespondenceWithin societySpeaking at public eventsPressSocial mediaBlogsHow can we measure bothacademic and societal research impact?
  3. 3. Download countsPage viewsMentions in news reportsMentions in social mediaMentions in blogsReference manager readers… etc.Journal Impact FactorCitation countsNew perspectives of impactACADEMIC IMPACT SOCIETAL IMPACTAlternative metrics“altmetrics”+Traditional metrics
  4. 4. Each day, scholarlyarticles receive ~12,000new mentions acrosssocial media, news, andblogs.That’s 1 mentionevery 7 seconds!Each week,~20,000unique articles areshared.Mentions range incomplexity, fromquick shares tocomprehensive reviews.Article-level metrics areworth paying attention to.
  5. 5. “Altmetrics” are…o  “alternative metrics”o  new ways of measuring different, non-traditional forms of impact.o  “alternative to only using citations”, not “alternative to citations”.o  complementary to traditional citation-based analysis.Article-level metrics have come to refer to the altmetrics surroundinga scholarly article.
  6. 6. What does Altmetric do?§  We measure the online attentionsurrounding journal articles anddatasets.§  We collect and deliver article-levelmetrics to publishers, libraries,repositories, researchers, andmore.Social mediaNewsOnline referencemanagersYou
  7. 7. 123123Altmetric Data: Details PagesVisualise the impact with the Altmetric score.Monitor news mentions with the News Tracker.See all the conversations and mentions.See article-level metrics and ascore of attention below.
  8. 8. The Altmetric ExplorerThe Altmetric Explorer web app can be used to filter and browse through attention forover 1,000,000 scholarly articles.Browse through altmetrics datafor all mentioned papers.Use built-in analytic tools tocompare journals.
  9. 9. The Altmetric BookmarkletThe free Altmetric Bookmarklet lets you instantly retrieve Altmetric details for any article.Altmetrics data will appear on the right-hand side of your page.Installation instructions: it!Click the “Altmetric it” button brings upa paper’s altmetrics.
  10. 10. What can I do witharticle-level metrics?
  11. 11. 321You can use article-level metrics to…Track an article’s uptake within a community.Assess the overall impact of a body ofscholarly work.Characterise reader communities.4 Discover new articles to read.
  12. 12. Did a specific article reach the community it was intended for?Track an article’s uptake within a community1TWITTER•  48% of tweets mentioning thepaper were sent from the US.•  21% of tweets were sent bypractitioners.•  Tweeted by several professionalorganisations with manyfollowers.NEWS•  Mentioned in 2 articles onForbes.BLOGS•  Discussed in-depth on 4medical/physician-led blogs.EXAMPLE: Position paper by the American College ofPhysicians (ACP) and the Federation of State Medical Boards(FSMB), on physicians’ use of social mediaTarget audience: American physicians who use social mediaAltmetric details page: from the Altmetric blog post “The Doctor is Online”:
  13. 13. Filter papers by:•  Journal•  DOI prefix•  PublisherAssess the impact of a body of scholarly work2Pick what you want to look at andfilter the rest out.Use the powerful filters of the Altmetric Explorer.
  14. 14. Find specific papers by entering theirunique identifiers, then look at theirAltmetric scores.Assess the impact of a body of scholarly work2Use the powerful filters of the Altmetric Explorer.Publications by MSF staff.EXAMPLE: Altmetric conducted an analysis of thesocial impact of recent papers authored byMédecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff. To retrieve thealtmetrics data, we searched for a known set of DOIsand PubMed IDs.A graph from our altmetricsanalysis of MSF papers.
  15. 15. Characterise reader communities3Many distinct online communities come together to discuss papers.EXAMPLE: Nurses onReddit, speaking about a2011 paper published inCritical Care.
  16. 16. Characterise reader communities3Where are the readers?Who are the readers?What is the online reach ofthe community?View Twitter follower numbers.Altmetric article details pages show:•  Demographics of the readers•  A paper’s online reachIdentify details about readercommunities using Altmetric data.
  17. 17. Characterise reader communitiesAttention surrounding a single paper can reveal theexistence of a large online community.3EXAMPLE: The bench scientists’blogosphere was revealed by an essay onthe importance of stupidity in scientificresearch2008 J Cell Sci 121, 1771.•  The article was extremely popular withbench scientists on social media(Twitter, Reddit) and blogs.•  Lots of scientists responded bysharing their own experiences.•  Follows the trend of the benchscientists blogosphere, which oftentalks about:•  New scientific articles•  Their own publications•  Lab/career experiencesBLOGSAltmetric details page: from the Altmetric blog post “It’s OK, Scientific Stupidity is Normal”:
  18. 18. Characterise reader communitiesAttention surrounding a single paper can reveal theexistence of a large online community.3EXAMPLE: The concern of members ofthe Japanese public was revealed by theattention surrounding an article on thebiological impacts of the Fukushimanuclear accident.TWITTER:•  68% of tweets were sent from Japan.•  77% of tweeters were members of the public.•  18% of tweeters were scientists.•  Twitter had been used to share news alerts duringthe Fukushima disaster – now it was being used as ascientific news engine.Altmetric details page: from the Altmetric blog post “Conversations About Disaster”:, Scientific Reports 2, 570
  19. 19. Discover new articles to read4Note: The MEDLINE subject filter only applies to journal classifications. We’re working on developinga way to determine the subjects of individual articles.EXAMPLE: Filter by MEDLINE subject “neurology”Use the Altmetric Explorer to rank articles byattention and find interesting papers.
  20. 20. Discover new articles to read4EXAMPLE: Filter by recently-mentioned articles on arXivUse the Altmetric Explorer to find interesting pre-prints.
  21. 21. ARTICLE LEVELMETRICSALTMETRIC EXPLORERIdentify communitiesDiscover new papersAssess overall impact of abody of workTrack an article’s uptake
  22. 22. Interested? Let’s talk.E-mail Jean: jean@altmetric.comVisit us on the web: www.altmetric.comRead our blog: us on Twitter: @altmetric