Skip to Main Content

Impact Metrics

What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics or alternative metrics measure the attention a resource generates on the web. These metrics complement traditional metrics.

What altmetrics count?

  • Usage: the number of views and downloads where the resource is stored
  • Mentions:  the number of mentions on social media (X, specialised social media such as ResearchGate, blog posts), policy documents, mainstream media,  Wikipedia articles, comments on peer review platforms such as Pubpeer or  Publons
  • Captures: the number of captures in bookmarking tools such as Diigo or reference management tools as Mendeley
  • Citations: in Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of science
  • Measure impact almost immediately: it is possible to monitor the online mentions of a work as soon as it is published
  • Cover more diverse research outputs and sources than traditional metrics
  • Broader non-academic audience:  it can show attention beyond the academic world, where people may use but not cite research
  • Metrics can be easily manipulated
  • Invisibility: If a publication is more accessible, it is more likely to be cited. Altmetrics benefit researchers who have a strong online profile and are active on social and other media
  • Popularity does not always reflect the quality of research
  • Lack of stability on data sources as some of them come and go (Ex: Connotea)
  • Standards remain at the stage of development. In 2016, the US National Information Standards Organization (NISO) published a document to standardise practices concerning these new metrics
  • Without the analysis of the context, altmetrics indicators can not measure the impact research but only the “attention gathered by a research publication”


  • A platform owned by the data science company Digital Science
  • Offers Bookmarklets for researchers and Institutional repository embeddable badges for free
  • The bookmarklet allows to look up for metrics and underlying qualitative data.

  • Public Library of Science (PLOS) is an Open Access publisher
  • Offers the Article Level Metrics (ALM) application, which is freely available for all PLOS articles.

  • Web-based service, developed by publishing and technology professionals in 2013
  • Free for researchers under registration and requires payment for publishers, funders and Institutions
  • Compiles citations counts from Web of Science (where licensed) and altmetrics from

Publisher websites

Some publishers such as Springer usually integrate Altmetrics data in their websites:

  • With a badge or summary visualisation
  • With metric reports that include download and page-view information

  • A platform owned by the data science company Digital Science
  • Offers a subscription for an Almetric explorer. It enables an institution to track the attention that publications by an individual researcher or university/institute get in social media.

  • Data company, owned since 2017 by Elsevier
  • Offers several products such as PlumX metrics, which embeds the metrics about a publication directly into an institutional repository, or "Plum Prints" displaying article usage, mentions, citations and shares that are available through the Scopus database for items indexed in Scopus.

Detection of gaming Gaming and spam detection N/A N/A Gaming detection N/A
Disambiguation Disambiguate links N/A Disambiguate links and authors Disambiguate links and authors using ORCID Disambiguate authors using ORCID
Normalisation Data (not score) normalisation N/A N/A N/A N/A
User access Registration required for some products, a few products and trial versions for free Open access, fees for profiles after trial, sign up required Subscription based Free access Registration required, free access for researchers, fees for publishers, funders and institutions
Data sources          
Social Bookmarking/ Reference managers Mendeley Same as Altmetric Mendeley Mendeley Same as Altmetric
Video, Photo and slide sharing YouTube Same as Altmetric YouTube, Vimeo, slideshare N/A Same as Altmetric
Social networks Facebook (mentions on curated list of public pages only), Sina Weibo and Pinterest Same as Altmetric X Facebook Same as Altmetric
Microblogging X (Historical sources, they no longer supply an open feed) Same as Altmetric X X Same as Altmetric
Recommendations and review systems Publons, Reddit Same as Altmetric Reddit, Goodreads, Amazon reviews, SourceForge F1000 prime, reddit Same as Altmetric
Online digital libraries/repositories/information systems Dimensions which retrieves data from CrossRef, Pubmed, Opencitations, and some publishers, Web of Science (where licensed) Same as Altmetric, CrossRef, Base PMC, Scopus, CrossRef, ePrints, DSpace, Figshare,WorldCat, Repec, Ebsco (historical only), Scielo, SSRN, see the full list. PMC, PubMed, Scopus, CrossRef, Figshare,  Web of Science, Plos journals Same as Altmetric
Others Policy documents,  global news in several languages, Wikipedia, Open syllabus Project (historical data) and a curated list of blogs   Policy documents, GitHub, a curated list of blogs, Stack Exchange Wikipedia  


  • Erdt, Mojisola, Aarthy Nagarajan, Sei-Ching Joanna Sin, and Yin-Leng Theng. "Altmetrics: An Analysis of the State-of-the-Art in Measuring Research Impact on Social Media". Scientometrics 109, no. 2 (1 November 2016): 1117–66.
  • Websites of Altmetrics providers

Altmetrics and How to Improve the Visibility of Your Research

Communicate about your work on academic social media platforms:

  • Academic for-profit social networking platforms
  • Share research papers
  • Follow other researchers
  • Metrics on your profile and papers (number of views of your publications or profile)
  • Possibility to link your Academia profile to your ORCID ID
Communicate about your research on non-academic social networks:


  • Free social networks
  • Share information about your research in real-time
  • Users demographic information
  • Identify trending topics by country with X
Publish with open-access journals or archive your work on subject repositories such as :

  • Open-access online preprint community which offers an SSRN Author homepage for authors with publications indexed in the SSRN eLibrary
  • Multidisciplinary repository
  • Create a profile and make your work visible
  • Interact with other researchers
  • Metrics (number of citations and downloads)

Keep in mind:

  • The number of views, downloads, or mentions do not necessarily reflect the usage and impact of your research. It is always important to analyse the context to know what is said about your work
  • Creating a researcher identifier such as ORCID is important to make it easier for other researchers to identify you and avoid homonyms
  • Before publicly posting your work, make sure you have the right to do so
  • Do not forget to always precise the source of your indicators, as different providers (Altmetric, Impactstory) track different sources