Today, we’re launching a week’s worth of tools for assessment – measuring the impact that a scholarly work has in the community. This first tool we’ll look at is Altmetric, which may already be familiar to you with its rainbow-colored wreath logo.1
What exactly do altmetrics measure? They track mentions from blogs, mainstream media, Facebook and YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, Reddit, and other socially connected platforms like LinkedIn and Mendeley. Many publishers have implemented systems like Altmetric as a service to their authors and as an added measure of their journals’ impact. Altmetrics can provide a particularly valuable window into the much broader impact and reach of many open access journals. Altmetrics don’t replace conventional measures such as citation counts (still the gold standard for scholarly articles), but can provide an additional, more complete, and more real-time indicator of the amount of ‘buzz’ generated around an article or other publication.
Interested in the altmetric ‘score’ for a particular article? Altmetric has a handy bookmarklet that lets you quickly view the altmetric data for any article – just navigate to the article, click the button on your toolbar, and view the results.
Here, for example, is the Altmetric ‘badge’ generated by the bookmarklet for the very recent article describing the exciting discovery of evidence for a ‘Planet Nine’ in our solar system, published January 20, 2016 – just over four weeks ago! – in The Astronomical Journal. The badge shows an altmetric score of 4052, distributed among news outlets, blogs, tweets, Facebook mentions, and many other sources. Clicking on the ‘details’ link takes you to the full Altmetric detail page.
Next time you see that rainbow colored wreath, you’ll know where it’s coming from and what it means. Next up … the Eigenfactor Project!
‘Altmetrics’ as a general term is a newly coined expression referring to the measurement of scholarly impact via non-traditional sources; ‘Altmetric’ as a proper noun refers to a specific company’s product, a system for capturing and representing altmetric data.