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Research Impact

Alternative Metrics

Alternative metrics are based on data generated by the use of and interaction with information online, such as number of downloads and pageviews from a publisher, repository, or online reference manager, or the amount of discussion generated in online venues such as Twitter or blogs. Alternative metrics can be used to complement traditional metrics, to measure impacts in fields where citation metrics aren't as applicable, or to show the impact of research on a broader audience. To learn all about alternative metrics and how to find them, try the Introduction to Research Impact tutorial.

Some examples of alternative metrics that can be used to measure impact, by research output type, are:

  • Citations: Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed Central, and Google Scholar citations; citations in policy documents
  • Bookmarks: scholarly bookmarks in Mendeley & CiteULike; bookmarks by the public on Delicious & Pinboard; Twitter favourites
  • Discussion: peer reviews on F1000, Publons, and other post-publication peer review websites; Twitter mentions and Facebook wall posts; newspaper articles, videos, and podcasts; mentions on scholarly blog networks like ResearchBlogging
  • Shares: Twitter mentions, Facebook shares
  • Views: Pageview & download statistics from the journal website or repository where you've archived your paper
  • Citations: Web of Science and Scopus citations; Google Book citations
  • WorldCat holdings: the number of libraries worldwide that have purchased your book
  • Views: Pageview & download statistics from your publisher's website or the repository where you've archived your book/chapter
  • Ratings: and Goodreads ratings
  • Discussion: see the "Articles" section
  • Bookmarks: see the "Articles" section
  • Citations: Data Citation Index and Google Scholar citations
  • Views: views and downloads from Figshare, Zenodo, Dryad, ICPSR, or other subject or institutional repositories
  • Reuse: GitHub forks
  • Discussion: Figshare comments; also see the "Articles" section
  • Bookmarks: see the "Articles" section
  • Citations: Google Scholar citations
  • Downloads: download statistics from GitHub, Bitbucket, Sourceforge, or other institutional or subject repository
  • Adaptations: GitHub forks, Bitbucket clones
  • Collaborators: GitHub collaborators
  • Discussion: GitHub gists, mentions on Twitter, Figshare comments
  • Bookmarks, Shares: see the "Articles" section
  • Views: views and downloads on Figshare, Zenodo, or other institutional or subject repository
  • Discussion: Figshare comments; see also the "Articles" section
  • Bookmarks, Shares: see the "Articles" section
  • Views: views and downloads on Slideshare, Speakerdeck, and Figshare
  • Discussion: Slideshare and Figshare comments; see also the "Articles" section
  • Shares: Slideshare embeds on other websites; mentions on Twitter, Facebook shares, LinkedIn shares
  • Likes: Slideshare and Speakerdeck likes
  • Bookmarks: see the "Articles" section
  • Views: Youtube, Vimeo, and Figshare views
  • Likes/Dislikes: Youtube likes and dislikes; Vimeo likes
  • Discussion: Youtube, Vimeo, and Figshare comments; see also the "Articles" section
  • Shares, Bookmarks: see the "Articles" section

Article Metrics Videos

Alternative Metric Analysis & Visualization Tools

Data Sources

Alternative metric data can be gathered from a variety of sources, such as social media platforms, citation managers, publishers, databases, library websites, and more.

The following databases also provide aggregate altmetrics for individual articles:

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