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Measuring Your Impact: Research Metrics: Altmetrics

This is a guide to the various metrics used to measure research impact.

What Are Altmetrics

The term altmetrics refers to new, alternative ways of assessing the impact of authors and publications. It presumes that value can be assessed by counting online shares, saves, reviews, adaptations and mentions. Altmetrics take into account a variety of research products, including gray literature; research blogs; data sets; citation managers, like Mendeley; and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter


  • Assesses impact quickly
  • Tracks impact outside the academy
  • Tracks impact from non-peer-reviewed sources


  • Do Tweets, etc., really measure impact?
  • The popularity of social media sites changes over time

Sources for Altmetrics -- A UK-based company that offers altmetrics services for institutions and researchers. The free Altmetric bookmarklet provides article-level matrics.

ImpactStory -- Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, ImpactStory is an open-source, web-based tool that tracks the impacts of altmetrics, including blog posts, datasets, and software as well journal articles. It aggregates data from many sources and creates a report.

Plum Analytics (Elsevier) -- Plum Analytics tracks journal articles, books, videos, presentations, conference proceedings, datasets, source code, cases and more.

PLoS Article-Level Metrics -- Article-level metrics are available, upon publication, for every article published by PLOS.