Skip to main content

Impact Factors and Citation Analysis: Altmetrics


Having your work formally cited by other researchers is a very slow process. Altmetrics are faster and wider-ranging measures of how peopleboth other researchers and the general publicare interested in your work. 

More information



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: