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Information and resources for using altmetrics to demonstrate research impact.

Altmetrics versus bibliometrics

Altmetrics and bibliometrics provide different information and are useful in different circumstances. They are complementary - it's not a matter of choosing one over the other!



Altmetric scores can begin to accrue immediately as you publicise your research projects. It can take years for bibliometrics to accrue as research is slowly noticed and cited in scholarly publications.
Altmetrics provides data on many types of output such as datasets, software or code, conference presentations, book chapters and reports. Bibliometrics mainly applies mainly to scholarly journal articles although it may also measure citations of books, book chapters and conference proceedings.
Altmetrics can surface non-academic discussion of your work and track the public conversation as it happens. Bibliometrics tracks only scholarly engagement.
Altmetrics provides detail on who is engaging with research outputs and what they are saying and where they are saying it. Bibliometrics are purely numerical counts of citations.  They don't provide context because they don't show what people are saying.  For example papers may be highly cited as examples of poor research.
Altmetrics allows you to explore mentions about individuals, research areas or organisations. Bibliomentrics collates data about citation of individual journal articles and authors.
Altmetrics provides good coverage of the humanities, arts and social sciences. Bibliometrics from the major citation databases Scopus, Web of Science have limited coverage of the humanities, arts and social sciences.
Altmetrics can provide evidence of impact for early to mid-career researchers whose bibliometrics may not yet have accumulated. Bibliometrics favour more experienced researchers with a long publication record.

​Altmetrics can provide evidence of real-world impact to funders and employers, demonstrating how a researcher, team or college is providing public value and is fulfilling an obligation to share their knowledge beyond academia 

Bibliometrics only measures academic or scholarly influence and describes interactions between scholars within academia.
Altmetrics may lack broad acceptance by academic communities or funding bodies. Bibliometrics is well established within the academic community, and may be used to determine team or school research funding.
Altmetrics encourages sharing of research outputs with the academic and broader community as researchers are keen to promote conversation about their research. Bibliometrics measures research outputs in isolation with no incentive to share beyond scholarly publication.
Altmetrics can be imprecise, especially when non-scholarly attributions do not include unique identifiers for published material. Bibliometrics can be imprecise if authors have not disambiguated their researcher ids, such as ORCiD, Scopus Author ID, Web of Science ResearcherID and Google Scholar Citation Profile.
Altmetrics is unregulated and may be manipulated or gamed easily. Major bibliometrics providers gather data systematically so it is harder to manipulate, although self-citation can influence scores.
Public conversation measured by altmetrics is not necessarily indicative of research quality. Bibliometrics are more likely to reflect academic research standards.