Altmetrics is a newer field that uses online information from social, scholarly, and mainstream media to examine the broader impact and attention of research outputs. Altmetrics tools mine data from Twitter mentions, Mendeley saves, discussion in mainstream news media, usage/download statistics, and reviews on post publication peer review websites.

Altmetrics are a fast-moving area and the tools and methodologies used frequently change. The altmetrics pages are current as of April 2016.

Altmetric measures are available to Western University authors from the following sources:

Scholarship@Western: The institutional repository for Western University provides detailed download data for uploaded publications.

Scopus: An established citation index, Scopus has recently incorporated altmetric information alongside traditional article level based measures. Not be to confused with altmetrics as a concept, the company tracks dozens of sources for mentions of scholarly articles. Although we do not subscribe to this service, there are many free access points.

Impact Story & Depsy: Impactstory is a free service for individuals that tracks numerous sources for mentions of research outputs and gathers them into a profile. Depsy aims to track the impact of research software.

PLoS Article Level Metrics (ALM) and PLoS ALM Reports: The publisher PLoS (Public Library of Science) includes altmetric measures for their articles.

Best Practices:

  • Altmetrics are best used as part of a basket of measures to complement other measures of impact.
  • They are particularly useful for open access publications, or when other measures are not applicable (e.g. for recent publications).  
  • They can be used to find qualitative data about the applications of your research. For example, altmetrics can track practitioner or NGO use of publications, or reviews on blogs or post-publication peer review sites. Further examples can be found at this Duke University's Altmetrics for Researchers Libguide.