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Measure Scholarly Impact: Altmetrics

What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics (alternative metrics) are new measurements that are being used to track the attention that scholarly articles and datasets receive via social media. It is hoped that they will be seen as an alternative to the traditional Journal Impact Factor, to measure scholarly impact in the digital environment. They focus on measuring scholarly interactions via tweets, blogs, social bookmarking, etc. 

What Are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics are new ways of engaging with research output that are published via social media. They do not measure the quality of a journal, but measure how articles and other scholarly outputs have been used. They complement traditional citation metrics.

Altmetrics measure:

  • How much attention the scholarly output has received in social media.
  • How widely the scholarship has been disseminated (among other scholars, or in the public arena).
  • Influence and impact of scholarship (e.g. mentions in public policy documents, by experts, etc.).

Examples of metrics used: Views, downloads, bookmarks, citations in Wikipedia, mentions in social media, etc.


  • Provide quicker feedback.
  • Not limited to books and articles.
  • Cover wider range of metrics.


  • Not as widely accepted (relatively new).
  • No standardization.
  • Needs to be contextualized (lots of attention does not necessarily mean impact).
  • Not everyone is online.
  • Much easier to game system.

Tools for Measuring Altmetrics

Free Tools for Visualizing Citations

Selected Tools