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Research Impact - Altmetrics

Scholarly Communication: Research Impact - Altmetrics

Metrics Toolkit

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).


The YouTube video below describes how to use altmetrics effectively in tenure dossiers for promotion and tenure as well as in job applications.

Current conversations in altmetrics