Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, use the Social Web to generate new measures of scholarly impact. Examples of altmetrics include the number of:
- Mentions on Facebook, Twitter or professional networking sites, e.g. ResearchGate
- Comments in publisher-hosted spaces, e.g. PLOS or blogs
- Download reports from UR Scholarship Repository
- Mentions in the mainstream media
- Social bookmarks on sites such as CiteULike
- Exports to citation management programs e.g. Mendeley, Zotero
Advantages of altmetrics:
- Fast: Altmetrics are generated and gathered immediately. Traditional citations take time to accumulate.
- Diverse: Altmetrics capture data from a variety of sources, including the scholarly community, the media and the general public. Traditional impact measures only reflect the impact of a work within the academic setting. Moreover, some alternative measures looks beyond counts to content.
- Open: Data is typically gathered from a variety of open source web services, which means that conclusions based on altmetrics can be verified by others.
Altmetrics are a burgeoning area of study and they are not meant to replace traditional measures of impact, but they do provide another way to assess research impact.
Noteworthy altmetrics tools and services: