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Altmetrics has emerged as a complement to bibliometrics. The term "altmetrics" stems from "alternative metrics," which is an alternative—or broader—way of measuring the impact of a scholarly publication.

A bibliometric study is an analysis based on scholarly publications. It can be used for research evaluation and to determine the impact of a particular journal. This information is valuable when selecting where to publish your research and can aid in applying for research grants as it showcases the impact of your previous publications.

An altmetric study can be used in a similar manner, but instead, it gauges the impact of research beyond the strict scientific sphere. It can reveal the significance of research for other parts of society, such as education, economy, and culture.

What does altmetrics measure?

Altmetrics collect various types of digital traces left behind by a publication. In simple terms, altmetrics are measurements based on activity in media and social media, among other sources. They provide an insight into how much attention a scholarly work receives across various types of information channels.

Here are some examples of metrics included in altmetrics:

  • Usage: views, clicks, downloads.
  • Citations: in non-scientific documents.
  • Social media: posts, reactions, shares, tags.
  • Mentions: blogs, comment sections, wikis.
  • Bookmarks: saved pages, favourites.

Examples of altmetric sources include news media, policy documents, social media, blogs, microblogs, wikis, and references in patents.

Why should you, as a researcher, care about altmetrics?

Data from altmetric analyses can, for instance, reveal a broader influence and engagement with your research. Some research funders prefer that you include a communication plan as part of your grant application. They want to understand how funded research impacts other stakeholders in society.

With an altmetric study, you can uncover who discusses your research and what they say. It is a way to gain an integrated view of the dissemination of your research in media and social media, both nationally and internationally. Discussions in platforms like social media can offer new insights and create significant connections. When you understand how your research spreads to the larger society, you can use that information to find ways to increase your impact and effectively share your research with a broader audience.

How can you enhance your altmetric impact?

There are a few important steps that you, as a researcher, can take to boost your altmetric impact:

  • Publish open access
    An openly accessible article can be read, shared, and discussed by more individuals.
  • Publish your article with identifiers like DOI and ISBN
    A persistent identifier enables altmetric search engines to capture digital "citations" of your scholarly work. The link must then be embedded directly in the text, such as a blog post, comment, or webpage reference, for it to work.
  • Register for an ORCID and keep it updated
    This also helps to personally connect you to your research. Write your own summary and share it on social media. Ensure it is engaging and comprehensible even for non-experts in your field.
  • Share it on platforms like ResearchGate, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Remember to link to the article!

Do you have questions about altmetrics?

Feel free to contact if you have questions about altmetrics.