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Altmetrics

Information and resources for using altmetrics to demonstrate research impact.

What are altmetrics?

Altmetrics provide insights into what is being said about research in non-scholarly forums and how research is being used to create public policy and solve real-world problems.

altmetrics alternative metrics

Altmetrics measure where research surfaces in a variety of non-academic environments.  These occur in three main areas:

  1. Online activity e.g. mentions in blog posts, comments, reviews; social media likes, shares or tweets; and usage such as downloads, views or saves
  2. Attributions in non-academic or grey literature e.g. government or non-government reports, discussion papers or policy documents; news or other media reports
  3. Research outputs which are not published academic papers e.g. datasets, code or software, conference posters, guidelines, websites

Altmetrics contrast with traditional research metrics which are quantitative rankings based on citation analysis of a researcher, research team or institution's scholarly publications, providing a purely numerical score indicating the number of citations this scholarship has received within academic journals.

See also Library's guide on Research Metrics.  

Why use altmetrics?

1. Demonstrate valuable non-academic engagement and societal value

Research funders and universities want to know how your research is of value to society.  Altmetrics provide solid evidence of your research impact by uncovering engagement in government policy, news sources, blogs, clinical guidelines and other expert recommendations. 

2. Provide evidence in your applications for promotion or tenure

3. Understand and join the public conversation

See who is influential or interesting in your research area, inside and outside of academia. Join public conversations and you may discover new colleagues, develop new professional relationships, or just read about new ideas.  Make your own ideas and research known to others.

4. See where there is research interest and where there are gaps

Learning what people are saying about research areas you are interested in and gain insights into priorities. Formulate research questions that target gaps in existing knowledge and meet public research needs.

5. Discover non-traditional research outputs

Find and explore research outputs such as blog posts, policy documents, data sets, media reports and much more.

Using altmetrics to demonstrate research value

 A beginner’s guide to altmetrics (3:00 min) by Altmetric.com (YouTube)

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