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Altmetrics: Overview

What are Altmetrics?




The term altmetrics represents the concept alternate (or alternative) metrics.

In 2016, the Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Project defined altmetrics as:

  • "The collection of multiple digital indicators related to scholarly work. These indicators are derived from activity and engagement among diverse stakeholders and scholarly outputs in the research ecosystem, including the public sphere” (Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Project, section 1).

  • "For stakeholders interested in the broad influence of scholarly outputs, altmetrics may offer insight by calculating an output's reach, social relevance, and attention from a given community, which may include members of the public sphere" (Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Project, section 1).

  • Learn more about altmetrics in Altmetrics: A Manifesto, an influential work in the area.

Capturing Online Attention

The shift in how research is talked about, and receives attention, was identified in 2010 by Priem et al, through the observation: "That hallway conversation about a recent finding has moved to blogs and social networks" (Priem, Taraborelli, Groth, Neylon, 2010).

  • It is these online conversations about research that make altmetric data possible.

  • For example, if you publish an article and somebody tweets about it, mentions it on Facebook, or blogs about it, these online mentions serve as altmetric data as they capture online attention to research. 

#altmetrics on Twitter