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).
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).