Altmetrics: Alternate Ways to Assess the Impact of Your Research

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you know that many of the library-related posts have been on the theme of open access. One of the big challenges open access initiatives face at research institutions is related to the tenure and promotion processes and how research is evaluated.  A goal for budding scholars is often to get a major book published in the humanities or key articles in the top-tier research publications in the sciences and social sciences and then be well-cited using the traditional metrics.  Many open access journals  are relatively new, and therefore, not as prestigious in many disciplines as the more established publications. One way the academy is addressing the issue is through the promotion and development of altmetrics.  In this post, I want to point you to some sources where you can learn more about this topic.

What is altmetrics?

From PLoS: ”

Traditionally, the impact of research articles has been measured by the publication journal. But a more informative view is one that examines the overall performance and reach of the articles themselves. Article-Level Metrics are a comprehensive set of impact indicators that enable numerous ways to assess and navigate research most relevant to the field itself, including: usage, citations, social bookmarking and dissemination activity, media and blog coverage, discussion activity and ratings.

From Altmetrics: A Manifesto:

Altmetrics are fast, using public APIs to gather data in days or weeks. They’re open–not just the data, but the scripts and algorithms that collect and interpret it. Altmetrics look beyond counting and emphasize semantic content like usernames, timestamps, and tags. Altmetrics aren’t citations, nor are they webometrics; although these latter approaches are related to altmetrics, they are relatively slow, unstructured, and closed.


Special Edition of Bulletin of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Altmetrics: What, Why and Where? (April/May 2013) – This issue addresses issues such as using altmetrics to strengthen your CV, how altmetrics complements Open Access, opportunities for repostories related to alt-metrics, and some of the key challenges to altmetrics.

From Bibliometrics to Altmetrics: A Changing Scholarship Landscape” by Robin Chin Roemer & Rachel Borchardt, College & Research Library News (November 2012):  Provides a summary of altmetric resources available, including free and subscription based resources.

Our Social & Behavioral Sciences Librarian, Molly Strothmann, has created a guide related to Journal Citation Metrics. If you’re interested in this topic, explore her guide to find additional tools and information.

Questions? Contact Karen Rupp-Serrano, Director of Collection Development & Scholarly Communication, or your subject librarian.

Jeremy Hessman