Altmetrics measure the mentions and uses of research. They can complement or provide an alternative to traditional bibliometrics.

In practice, altmetrics look at how many times research is mentioned, used, saved and shared on:

  • Blogs
  • Social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Reddit etc.)
  • Social bookmarking services (e.g. Mendeley, Connotea, CiteULike etc.)
  • Video services (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo etc.)
  • Other online platforms (e.g. Wikipedia, GitHub, StackOverflow etc.)

It is worth noting that some altmetrics services also include traditional citation counts in the data they provide.

Altmetrics are becoming increasingly widespread. You are likely to see them being provided for articles (and other research outputs) you find, and used by academics to help show the value of their work.

As with bibliometrics, they need to be fully understood and their limitations accepted. They are best used in conjunction with other means of evaluation.

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Library Research Support team