From bibliometrics to altmetrics

AltmetricsDanielle Padula, Community Development Coordinator at Scholastica, and Catherine Williams, Head of Marketing at Altmetric, introduce the changing landscape of research referencing in an article published on LSE blog: Enter Alternative Metrics: Indicators that capture the value of research and richness of scholarly discourse

Altmetrics are an alternative to bibliometrics as they are gathered from mentions of research in nontraditional online outlets. These mentions can be number of views, of downloads, network shares… on databases, social media, news media, post-publication peer review forums, blogs, Wikipedia, and more. Thus, altmetrics can be applied to nontraditional research and scholarly outputs and they often challenge the Impact Factor (IF) because it can take months to years to generate article citations, especially for research in the humanities and social sciences. The authors explain that “Alternative metrics make it possible for authors of newer works to show that their research is being read and used long before it is formally cited, and often almost immediately following publication.”

Also note that altmetrics are more meant to show that “research is being discussed but leaving it to the reader to determine whether that buzz is warranted, or indeed occurring for positive or negative reasons. The cause of altmetrics impact can vary, much like high counts of bibliometric article citations can be linked to article endorsements or references to previous articles’ errors.”

Read more here

Have you already tried to use ImpactStory?

ImpactStoryImpactStory is an open source, web-based tool that provides altmetrics to help researchers measure and share the impacts of all their research outputs—from traditional ones such as journal articles, to alternative research outputs such as blog posts, datasets, and software.

Altmetrics cover not just citation counts, but also other aspects of the impact of a work, such as how many data and knowledge bases refer to it, article views, downloads, or mentions in social media and news media.

The metrics provided by ImpactStory can be used by researchers who want to know how many times their work has been downloaded and shared beyond only considering citations to journal articles.

Below is an example of a researcher profile on ImpactStory:


You can have a free trial of the service, upload some works (it is better if you have an ORCID number or a Google Scholar profile so that you can upload all your publications at once) and see how people have already engaged with your research.

Also note that ImpactStory is a nonprofit organisation funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

To know more about altmetrics and how they correlate with citations, see: “From Attention to Citation: What are altmetrics and how do they work?“, a blog post from Xianwen Wang, Associate Professor at WISE Lab, Dalian University of Technology in China, on LSE “Impact blog“.