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Bibliometrics and Altmetrics: Measuring the Impact of Knowledge

This guide includes information on which of the databases contain citation measures that can be used to gage either an author, article or journal impact.

Altmetric Bookmarklet

Getting started with Altmetrics:

  1. Reading a paper and want to find out its Altmetric details? Install the free bookmarklet for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
  2. Learn more about Altmetrics, how outputs are scored, sources for tracking, etc.
  3. Watch an on-demand webinar on Telling Your Research Impact Story with Altmetrics.

Tell Your Story:

You can use impact metrics, including altmetrics, to present your scholarly work in multiple ways:

  • Narrative statements in promotion and tenure packets
  • Annotations on curriculum vitae
  • Narrative statements in grant applications

... and any other context where you need to demonstrate your impact.

Keep in mind:

  1. It works only when DOI is available and in several databases such as PubMed and arXiv.
  2. It works when publishers embed Google Scholar friendly citation metadata.
  3. X (former Twitter) mentions are only available for articles published since July 2011.
  4. Check the FAQ section for more limitations of this tool.

Source: Loria, P. (2013). Impact beyond metrics: Telling your research impact story. (.ppt) [Accessed June, 2014].


Criticism of Altmetrics

Attempts to use data derived from social media sources as measures of research influence are intriguing efforts to refine and improve accepted methods, which are widely seen as unsatisfactory for various reasons. It is important to note that these attempts may bring real improvement, or may simply generate more numbers and graphs.

Altmetrics, like established scholarly metrics, measure the activity surrounding a particular scholarly work which is in turn being taken as an indication of the report's scholarly significance. In that respect, it should not be assumed that altmetrics show an altogether different or “better” picture than that which is revealed through other scholarly metrics. Altmetrics are merely seeking to provide a more complete version of that picture.

Concerns have also been raised about the manipulation of these metrics.  A paper published in December of 2012, linked below, examined Google Scholar's services in particular and concluded that it was quite easy to atifically inflate a paper's scores as determined by Google Scholar's metrics.  For further reading on these topics, follow the links below:

Free Altmetrics Tools

Several tools are being developed to help you measure the influence of your scholarly work and tell your impact story:

Other Altmetrics Tools by subscription

Interested in using these products? Suggest a tool for subscription to your subject librarian or fill out the online form.