Skip to Main Content

Measure Your Research Impact: Altmetrics

Learn how to measure the impact of your research.

Created by Health Science Librarians

Library Data Services

Library Data Services caters to researchers interested in working with data, mapping, texts, visualization, and technology. Many of these services are available online. Davis Library Data Services, located on the second floor of Davis Library, offers:

  • A computing lab with specialized software for GIS and data visualization & analysis.
  • Walk-in assistance provided by knowledgeable student consultants during set hours
  • Consultations with specialists for more in-depth inquiries (by appointment).
  • Spaces for collaboration and presentation, complete with white boards and external displays.
  • Technology short courses and programs that promote digital scholarship.

Learn More About Altmetrics

General Overview of Altmetrics
Scholarly Articles and More Specifics on Altmetrics

What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, use the Social Web to generate new measures of scholarly impact.  Examples of altmetrics include the number of:

  • Mentions on Facebook, Twitter or professional networking sites, e.g. ResearchGate
  • Comments in publisher-hosted spaces, e.g. PLOS or blogs
  • Mentions in the mainstream media
  • Social bookmarks on sites such as CiteULike
  • Exports to citation management programs e.g. Mendeley, Zotero

Advantages of altmetrics:

  • Fast: Altmetrics are generated and gathered immediately.  Traditional citations take time to accumulate.
  • Diverse: Altmetrics capture data from a variety of sources, including the scholarly community, the media and the general public.  Traditional impact measures only reflect the impact of a work within the academic setting.  Moreover, some alternative measures looks beyond counts to content.
  • Open: Data is typically gathered from a variety of open source web services, which means that conclusions based on altmetrics can be verified by others.

Altmetrics are a burgeoning area of study and they are not meant to replace traditional measures of impact, but they do provide another way to assess research impact.

Scroll down or click on the links in the box on the left to learn how to get altmetrics.

Scopus PlumX Module

Scopus is a citation database that indexes journals, trade publications and conference proceedings in the health and natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities with citation data available from 1996 to present.

Scopus uses PlumX Metrics as the primary source of article-level metrics, replacing the previously used metrics. PlumX Metrics are categorized into five different categories: Usage, Captures, Mentions, Social Media, and Citations. For more information specifically on what each of these categories entail, please visit the PlumX website.

On the Scopus article page, a sidebar highlights the minimal number of meaningful metrics that a researcher needs to evaluate both citation impact and levels of community engagement.

 An access to a detailed data view of both the Scopus metrics module and PlumX Metrics is provided at the top right side bar labeled "Metrics" on an individual article listing. Click on "View All Metrics" to find data on:

  • Citation count and percentile benchmark
  • Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI)
  • A timeline of when and by whom the article was cited
  • PlumX Usage, Captures, Mentions, Social Media, and Citations metrics

Back to Top


AltmetricAltmetric offers a free bookmarklet that allows you to view article-level metrics for the articles that you read online. 

To get started, drag and drop the Altmetric bookmarklet to the bookmarks bar in your web browser.  Works for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.  Due to some limitations, the bookmarklet may not work for every article. 

  • Altmetric Data Sources: Four main categories: Policy documents, mainstream media, social media, online reference manager and publisher download counts
  • Altmetric Attention Score: This number is a measure of the quality and quantity of attention that an article has received.  The colors surrounding the number reflect the mix of sources where the article has been mentioned.
  • Altmetric ORCID Profile: Altmetric is a support member of ORCID by providing altmetrics data for any output that was associated with a specific ORCID ID (i.e. a specific researcher).

Back to Top


Impact StoryImpactstory is an open source, web-based tool developed in part by a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina.  Impactstory provides metrics from a variety of sources and normalizes those metrics based on comparison sets.  Impactstory provides metrics for journal articles, data sets, slides and other research products.

Here are some of the metrics that Impactstory collects:

  • Citations in Scopus
  • PDF downloads, or HTML views, from PLoS
  • Full text views and PDF downloads on PubMed Central
  • Readers who have added an article to their Mendeley library
  • Tweets

Explanation of the badges

You can join for free with your Twitter account or your ORCID.  Add citations or other products to your profile by:

  • Importing citations and more from GoogleScholar, ORCID, Figshare, GitHub, Slideshare and other sources
  • Entering a PMID, digital object identifier (DOI) or URL

Back to Top