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Scholarly Communication Services - Altmetrics: Essentials


AltmetricsThanks to its online availablility, the flow, dissemination, and interaction of research can now be tracked and analyzed beyond what was traditionally accepted as the signifiers of prestige and impact.  Altmetrics are defined as metrics and qualitative data that can be used in addition to traditional impact factors that describe a work's impact.  Due to variations of what influences impact and prestige among disciplines, many fields are using altmetrics as another or additional way to demonstrate the impact.  Here are a few examples of altmetrics:

  • Amount of coverage in blogs and media outlets (newspapers, magazines, or news).
  • Bookmarks or saves to online reference managers such as Mendeley.
  • Mentions in social network sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
  • Favorites or likes in sites such as Slideshare, YouTube or various social media platforms.
  • Recommendations in sites such as Figshare.
  • Comments or annotations from readers in platforms such as PubMed Commons.
  • Noted in post-peer review resources such as F1000Prime.

Altmetrics have the potential to answer these questions:

  • How many times is my work downloaded?
  • Who is reading my work?
  • Has my work been covered by news outlets?
  • Who is commenting on my work?
  • How is my work being shared?
  • Which countries are looking at my work?
  • Is my work making a social impact?

Related Guide

Altmetrics Essentials

Altmetric (2016). A beginner's guide to altmetrics [YouTube Video].

Altmetrics : What they are and how they can be used

FAU Libraries (2020). Altmetrics: What they are and how they can be used [YouTube Video].

Recommended Readings in the Library

Altmetrics Platforms & Tools


The FAU Libraries currently does not subscribe to Altmetric.  See its free tools for ways you can find altmetrics on your publications.

Altmetric for Books

Altmetric provides information for the impact of books based on their social media mentions, Wikipedia posts, and inclusion on scholarly platforms.  Atlmetric for Books can help with showing evidence of influence, refining a book's marketing and promotion activities, and identifying emerging topics for future development.  See its fee-based services through its web page for more information or to use the service.

Altmetric Attention Score

The Attention Score is generated by The colorful doughnut is integrated into many publisher sites and other search platforms.  In this example for an article that appeared in Nature, Altmetric shows the number of news outlets, blogs, and tweets that mentioned or discussed it.

Plum Analytics (PlumX)

Plum Analytics (Elsevier), like, tracks altmetrics.  Let's start with an article written by a team in the FAU College of Nursing, "Guidance for using mixed methods design in nursing practice research."  PlumX metrics are provided in this journal article as it appeared in ScienceDirect journal collection:

PlumX Metrics in Article

The "View Details" link led to a page that gave specifics on the article's mentions, tweets, and other altmetrics:

PlumX Article Profile