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Altmetrics: Using Altmetrics

How Can I Use Altmetrics?

In the context of your own work, altmetric data may offer possibilities for your:

  • CV or resume
  • Advancement package
  • Grant applications
  • Personal website

To learn more about how you can capture altmetric data for individual scholarly articles, see the Finding Altmetrics tab.

Responsible Use of Metrics

  • To achieve a complete picture of research impact, altmetric data should be used to complement other available bibliographic measures
     
  • Consider using altmetrics when citations will not be helpful for understanding how your work is gaining attention
     
  • Do not compare altmetric data across disciplines, as publication & citation cultures differ across disciplines
     
  • Be aware that altmetric data is not normally peer-reviewed
     
  • Remember that altmetrics can be influenced by bias, sensationalism, and emotion
     
  • Responsible use of altmetric data also requires an awareness of:

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Altmetric Data on Your CV or Resume

On your CV or resume, consider using Altmetric data to illustrate or augment your research impact.

For example:

  • Author, A. (2015). "Title." Journal name. doi:10.000/10.100x

Citations: 4 - listed in the 98th percentile of Biology research published in 2015 on [altmetric data source]. 
Other impact metrics: listed on [altmetric data source] as being in the 96th percentile of papers published in [Journal name] and the 87th percentile of papers published in 2015. 
International impact: according to [altmetric data source], this paper has been mentioned, bookmarked, or viewed in at least 43 countries

  • Author, A. (2015). "Title." Journal name. doi:10.000/10.100x

Paper covered by more than 100 media outlets worldwide, including The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian. Recommended on 12 research blogs, putting it in the 99th percentile of Biology publications published in 2015. Was described as "a breakthrough study on examples" by prominent genetics and evolution researcher Rosie Redfield.

Always provide meaningful context for your altmetric data!  Avoid relying solely on raw counts of your output's metrics. A lack of meaningful context is evident in this example:

  • Author, A. (2015). "Title." Journal name. doi:10.000/10.100x

Citations: 4 / Twitter mentions: 21 / Mendeley bookmarks: 91 / Blog mentions: 12

Altmetric Data in Your Advancement Package

If it makes sense to include altmetric data in your advancement package, such as a tenure & promotion file, consider selecting metrics that showcase the types of impact you are looking to document. For example:

  • If you wish to document the scholarly impact of your work, you could include the number of citations you have received, how often your work is bookmarked on Mendeley and by what demographics, etc.
     
  • If you wish to document your public outreach & engagement work, you could include how often your work has been mentioned in news media / Facebook / Twitter or the number of page view statistics for your lab's blog.

Did you know that some universities reference altmetric data in their T & P preparation guidelines?

Examples include:

  • University of Colorado School of Medicine: Guide to Preparing a Dossier for Promotion or Tenure (2014)
     
    • Page 85: "You should also highlight the impact that your publications or scholarly work have had on your field. Metrics --- such as the number of article citations, your h-index or others (such as those available at ImpactStory.org) --- can be useful in making the case that the publication or scholarly work was significant."
       
  • Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI): IUPUI Chief Academic Officer's Guidelines for Preparing and Reviewing Promotion and Tenure Dossiers 2016-2017

    • Page 31: "The nature of the scholarship and the evidence used to support it may differ from traditional forms of scholarship. Non-traditional dissemination outlets and alternative metrics should be acknowledged as acceptable forms of documentation."
       
    • Page 34: "The nature of public scholarship is diverse and the evidence used to support it may differ from traditional forms of scholarship. Non-traditional dissemination outlets and alternative metrics should be acknowledged as acceptable forms of documentation."
       

Remember to always provide meaningful context for your altmetric data!

Other Real Life Examples

Wonder how researchers have incorporated altmetric data into their work?

A few examples include:

  • Trevor A. Branch, University of Washington: This researcher's CV uses altmetrics to showcase success of his outreach and service efforts.
     
  • Steven B. Roberts, University of Washington: This researcher includes altmetric data in the Outreach & Science Communication section of his promotion package and also on his lab website.
     
  • Ahmed Moustafa, American University in Cairo: This researcher includes contextual altmetrics in his promotion & tenure dossier, using a screenshot of his Impactstory profile's "highly cited", "highly discussed", and other badges.

Acknowledgement

Content and examples on this page are largely drawn from the Duke University guide Altmetrics for Researchers. Many thanks for their very practical guide!