From The Embassy of Good Science


What is this about?

Altmetrics are an alternative, online based approach to research metrics, as opposed to traditional ones, such as h-index or impact factor.[1]

  1. Chavda J, Patel A. Measuring research impact: bibliometrics, social media, altmetrics, and the BJGP. Br J Gen Pract. 2016;66(642).

Why is this important?

Ever since its invention, the Internet has become an omnipresent part of everyday communication. It has become common in science to share your articles via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Measuring that part of online impact is important as it offers different insights into popularity and use of published articles.

For whom is this important?

What are the best practices?

There are different online companies offering altmetrics services. Some of them are Altmetric, Impactstory, and Plum Analytics.[1] They can track HTML views and PDF downloads, shared articles on social media platforms, saved and cited items. Altmetrics scores are often indicators of how popular an article is online with the general public. Unlike typical research metrics, Altmetrics software enables the user to track the dissemination of publications in real time. Some publishers have started offering their readers this information (BioMed Central, PLOS, Nature, Elsevier). Some argue that this form of metric is not a good indicator of popularity or quality, as social media activity and time of publication can have a big influence on the metric. [2] There seems to be no correlation between citations and altmetrics.

  1. Piwowar H. Altmetrics: Value all research products. Nature. 2013;493(7431).
  2. Eysenbach G. Can tweets predict citations? Metrics of social impact based on Twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact. J Med Internet Res. 2011;13(4).