Research Impact - Altmetrics

Scholarly Communication: Research Impact - Altmetrics

The Beginning of Altmetrics

Altmetrics, a shortening of "alternative" metrics, was first conceived on Twitter in 2010 by Jason Priem, a doctoral student who later co-founded

What are altmetrics?


  • Began as an online academic-led discussion on research impact via social media and the need for a greater focus on article level metrics and the ways articles are being shared beyond citation counts.

  • Question how we define impact.

  • Are more qualitative in nature.

  • Contribute to the development of new multidisciplinary, cross-institutional and global research partnerships.

  • Illustrate diverse impacts (e.g. public policy, ‘buzz’, disciplinary change, expert recommendations)

  • Show where articles have been:
    • picked up by news outlets;
    • blogged and tweeted about;
    • referenced in Wikipedia and web-based reference managers;
    • mentioned in Facebook and Google+ posts and in videos;
    • and referenced in policy sources.

  • Assess social and global impact through tracking how research outputs are viewed, discussed, shared, saved, read, and reused by global scholars online.

  • Illustrate an alternative story about the broader view of a work’s impact in which importance and influence can be measured, though not always quality.

  • Complement “traditional” metrics in supporting applications for tenure and promotion and grant applications, discovering new research, and highlighting university research impact.

  • Provide metrics in real time to all types of research outputs (traditional citations can take years to accumulate and largely apply to articles only).

Current conversations in altmetrics