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Citation Research & Impact Metrics


Altmetrics stands for alternative metrics. It lets us measure and monitor the reach and impact of scholarship and research through online interactions.  The alternative part references traditional measurements of academic success such as citation counts, impact factor, and author H-index. Altmetrics are meant to complement, not totally replace, these traditional measures.



Altmetric (not to be confused with altmetrics) is a commercial provider of altmetrics data. Known for their "doughnut" with a score, Altmetric constantly monitors social media sites, blog posts, news stories, Wikipedia, Mendeley, Facebook, government policy documents and other sources for mentions of scholarly literature. See the list of outputs and sources tracked by Altmetric.

Altmetric Attention Score and Donut

Altmetric attention scores for articles and outputs are displayed in a lovely colourful donut, which gives a quick visual indicator of the attention a publication has received on the Web.

  • The number at the centre of the donut is the headline “score of attention”.
  • The score is a weighted metric that is based on counts of mentions of the article in the sources monitored by Altmetric. 
  • The colours around the edge indicate the type of mentions and their weightings.  


The score has an important limitation: if the article was published before July 2011, Altmetric will have missed any transient mentions of it, tweets in particular. As such, its score won’t be accurate, and will represent a lower bound of the attention received. You can read more about the scoring algorithm at Altmetric.

The Altmetric Bookmarklet can instantly generate altmetrics on pages containing a DOI with Google Scholar friendly citation metadata (e.g. record in the NIE Digital Repository or journal article page in a publisher's website):

1. Drag the following link into your browser's bookmark bar:

    Altmetric it!

2. When you are viewing an article in a database or on a journal's website, click the bookmark to generate an Altmetric Attention Score for that article.

  • Hover your mouse over the donut and you’ll see the types of mentions the article has had.


  • Click on the donut to see even more details via the Altmetric website. The example below shows the Altmetric report of an article that appeared in Nature. It shows the number of news outlets, blogs, and tweets that mentioned or discussed it - you can view the individual mentions by type. 


  • Within the Altmetric report, you can choose the "Attention Score in Context" tab which shows some different contexts to help you understand if the level of attention is typical compared to similar articles.


For example, you can see how the article's score compares to other articles from the same journal, or from the same journal and published within the same six weeks period.

Altmetric calculates these percentiles by looking at everything indexed in the Altmetric database. It is important to note that Altmetric excludes articles that received no online media attention.

Altmetric Tips & Tricks

To improve your altmetric scores, you need to create an online presence and share information about your work and your research outputs online:

  • Mention specific articles

Aim to mention specific articles and research outputs, share the links via social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, blog).

  • Use social networking sites for researchers

Create a profile and add your publication list to social networking sites for researchers.

  • Register for an ORCID iD

Populate your profile so that others can discover your work. 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). Make sure you choose the visibility setting ‘Everyone’ for these publications in ORCID so that Altmetric can 'see' this information as well. Altmetric has a list of tips about how to set up your ORCID profile to get maximum coverage.

Find out more tips and tricks on Altmetric.