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Altmetrics: Introduction

Learn how to measure the impact and attention of your research.


This guide will provide you with basic knowledge and tools regarding altmetrics. Altmetrics are now being used to measure the impact and attention of research. It is different than typical scholarly metrics like journal impact factor and citation counts.

Beginner's guide to altmetrics


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What are altmetrics?

altmetrics = alternative metrics

The term altmetrics was first proposed in a tweet by Jason Priem in 2010, and further detailed in a manifesto.

The term is not clearly defined and can be used to mean:

Impact measured based on online activity, mined or gathered from online tools and social media for example:

  • tweets, mentions, shares or links,
  • downloads, clicks or views,
  • saves, bookmarks, favorites, likes or up-votes,
  • reviews, comments, ratings, or recommendations, 
  • adaptations or derivative works, and
  • readers, subscribers, watchers, or followers.


Metrics for alternative research outputs, for example citations to datasets.


Other alternative ways of measuring research impact.

Altmetrics can be used as an alternative, or in addition, to traditional metrics such as citation counts and impact factors. 

Image: Altmetric bookmarklet result for the article: Piwowar, H. (2013). Altmetrics: value all research products. Nature, 493(7431), 159-159. Screenshot taken Nov 4 2014.

* Click on the tab above labeled 'Tools' to learn how to get altmetrics for your research.

Learn more about altmetrics


Manifesto on altmetrics, 2010.

Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Special section of the ASIS&T Bulletin devoted to altmetrics, 2013.

Rise of 'Altmetrics' Revives Questions About How to Measure Impact of Research

The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2013.