Today, authors looking for article-level metrics have a powerful tool: Altmetrics.
What are Altmetrics?
Simply put, Altmetrics are a measure of non-traditional attention and engagement that your article has received. It is an alternative to relying solely on citations to quantify the reach and impact of your published research. To create an Altmetric score for your paper, a host of non-traditional sources are monitored and searched for links and references to the published research. This data is presented in an easily digestible format that enables you to see who is commenting on your research, and where these mentions are taking place.
A few things that Altmetrics are not:
- They’re not just a number.
- They’re not meant to replace traditional metrics (e.g., citations).
- They’re not just used for journal articles — books and monographs, data sets, images, posters, and more are also tracked.
Many publishers, including Lippincott®, have been including Altmetric data on articles published in their journals.
Understanding the Altmetric badge
After tracking how often your research paper is mentioned in non-traditional sources such as news outlets, social media, and blogs, Altmetrics summarizes the results in the “Altmetric donut” that many researchers have become familiar with in recent years. The badge is a visual means of showcasing the online attention an article has received, and provides a means of evaluating its impact.
Each color in the Altmetric badge refers to a different source where your article was mentioned. And so, if you are familiar with the colors and the media outlets they represent, in a glance you can see where your article was discussed. In the center of the badge is the article’s current score, which is based on volume, sources, etc.
In calculating your article’s score, it’s important to note that not all media outlets carry the same weight in calculating your article’s Altmetric score. A mention of your article on a news outlet, for example, is weighted more than a tweet.