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Measuring Research Impact: Altmetrics


Alternative metrics, or social impact

Alternative metrics, or social impact include other impacts of a work, such as the number of article views, numbers of downloads, or mentions in social media and news media.

  • The number of views or downloads from a publishers web site or institutional repository indicate that someone is interested in reading an article.
  • Mentions in blogs and news stories, or citations in Wikipedia, demonstrate that an article is reaching the intended audience.
  • An article bookmarked in CiteULike, or shared in Mendeley by other researchers, is considered to be important to other researchers.
  • Articles shared via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) have caught the attention of someone.

Alternative metrics will normally be available sooner than traditional citation metrics, which are dependant on journal publishing cycles.

Further details:

Alternative metrics & social impact


Altmetrics —short for alternative metrics—is a measure of web-based scholarly interaction. It aims to measure how often research is tweeted, blogged about, downloaded or bookmarked. Its development can be seen as a response to the impact of social networking on the research environment.

See the Altmetrics manifesto, posted on, for further explanation about the development of this approach to measuring scholarly impact.

Find futher tools on the Tools page

  • Impact Story
    Allows the user to create an online profile that gathers usage data from the many online research-sharing platforms like those mentioned above
  • Plum Analytics
    Aims to provide a more comprehensive measure of a researcher's scholarly impact by gathering data about usage of data sets, open access publications, presentations, blogs and other types of scholarly communication.
  • Altmetric for Scopus
    Appears in the sidebar of Scopus article and abstract pages. Note, an Altmetric score will only appear in the sidebar when there is data available for the article that you're currently viewing.

Altmetrics Readings

Barnes, C., 2015. The use of altmetrics as a tool for measuring research impact. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 46(2), 121–134.

Kwok, Roberta (2013) Research impact: Altmetrics make their mark. Nature, 500(7463), 491-3

Piwowar, H. (2013). Introduction altmetrics: What, why and where? Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 39(4), 8-9. doi: 10.1002/bult.2013.1720390404

Piwowar, H., & Priem, J. (2013). The power of altmetrics on a CV. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 39(4), 10-13. doi: 10.1002/bult.2013.1720390405

Tananbaum, G. (2013). Article-level metrics: a SPARC primer.

Ways to Improve your Altmetric Scores

To improve your altmetric scores you need to create an online presence and share information about your work and your research outputs online.There are many ways to do this such as:

Blog - Blog about your articles or work and ask others to write blog posts about your work.

Tweet - Become active on Twitter and tweet links to your articles and other work.

Use social networks for researchers - Create a profile and add your publication list to social networking sites for researchers, such as, ResearchGate and Mendeley.

Register for researcher IDs Register for IDs such as an ORCID id, ResearcherID and keep your list of publications up-to-date.

Make all your research outputs available online - Make all your research outputs including data, code, videos and presentations available online by using on content hosting tools such as figshare, Dryad, YouTube, Vimeo, SlideShare, SourceForge or GitHub.

Deposit your work in an institutional or subject repository - Deposit your work in the University of Melbourne institutional repository: Minerva Access, or a subject-specific repository for example, arXiv, a repository for physics and mathematics.

Further Reading :

5 tips for improving your article’s Altmetric score

Courtesy of University of Melbourne

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