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LIBRARY 

Altmetrics: Strengths & Weaknesses

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

Strengths

Speed

Altmetrics can accumulate more quickly than traditional metrics such as citations.

Range

Altmetrics can be gathered for many types of research output, not just scholarly articles.

Granularity

Altmetrics can provide metrics at the article, rather than journal level, such as journal impact factors.

Detail

Altmetrics can give a fuller picture of research impact using many indicators, not just citations.

Non-academic

Altmetrics can measure impact outside the academic word, where people may use but not cite research.

Sharing

If researchers get credit for a wider range of research outputs, such as data, it could motivate further sharing.

Weaknesses

Standards

There are a lack of standards for altmetrics.

Unregulated

Altmetrics could be manipulated or gamed.

Reliability

Altmetrics may indicate popularity with the general public rather than quality research.

Time

There is no single widely used rating or score and altmetrics can be time consuming to gather.

Difficulty

Altmetrics can be difficult to collect, for example bloggers or tweeters may not use unique identifiers for articles.

Overload

There are many different metrics and providers to choose from and it can be hard to determine which are relevant.

Acceptance

Many funders and institutions use traditional metrics to measure research impact.

Context

Use of online tools may differ by discipline, geographic region, and over time, making altmetrics difficult to interpret.