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Researchers: Altmetrics sources and tools

Alternative impact metrics

These two resources go beyond conventional citation counts and into social media and the web to create impact measures.

1. An author's publications

For an overview of interest in your own publications, it is highly recommended that you first update your ORCID profile and then synchronise it with Impactstory.

You can also set up email alerts from Impactstory for when your publications get attention. 

You may create profiles about your outputs on researcher social networking sites like ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Mendeley, SSRN, etc. Such sites often present a score for an author which will probably be influenced by the author's level of engagement with that site.

Counting pageviews online

For most online outputs, it is relatively easy to get counts of views or downloads from your publisher, your web host or Research Repository. See also the Social Sciences Research Network


Note that these are not always counted in the same way, so difficult to compare across sources.

ORCiD

ORCID logo

What is an ORCiD?

ORCiD is a unique identifier system that has been adopted across the world. Not only does it allow you as a researcher to distinguish yourself as 'you' - an ORCID also supports linking systems involved in key research workflows.

Find out more about ORCID and sign-up here: http://orcid.org/

Hashtag for altmetrics on Twitter

Search for more information

This altmetrics page will explore

**Please click on any word that is a link, to find out more about it in the accompanying glossary or in a further source of information.**

This page of the guide considers sources of altmetrics data and explores further:

  1. Altmetrics indicators for an author's publications
  2. Altmetrics indicators for a research output
  3. Measuring your own social media activity

Altmetrics sources

Altmetrics are really alternative metrics, and there are a wealth of them! They are good for tracking activity outside of academia, and for providing evidence of reach for outputs where no bibliometrics will be available. They are full of context and worth exploring for possible pathways to impact or evidence of engagement.

Sources include:

  1. Twitter: no. of tweets about your output
  2. Mendeley: no. of people adding your output to their collection
  3. Facebook: likes
  4. CiteULike: bookmarks
  5. Wikipedia: mentions
  6. F1000: recommendations
  7. Youtube: playlists/likes
  8. Blogs: posts/likes/faves
  9. News channels

Some tools are available which monitor multiple sources for mentions of your research outputs. The set of sources that they monitor varies. A great example of one of these is ImpactStory: see their data sources.

2. Indicators for a research output

Many tools rely on a publication having a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or other unique ID which is trackable. Sometimes journal websites will display metrics of all kinds for papers. The research repository also displays metrics for all kinds of outputs: here you can see the Altmetric.com tool providing information about activity around a particular publication. See: Example publication.

Altmetric.com also offer a bookmarklet which would enable you to see the altmetrics for outputs whenever you are viewing them in your browser. 

3. Measuring your own social media activity

Apart from measuring what others are saying about your publications, if you use social media channels then you can monitor your success with that activity and maybe decide whether to carry on with a particular practice. 

Tools like Klout can give an overall score of a person's activity in social media, but it pays to understand what lies behind such scores before putting trust in them. Sites and tools which provide scores don't always explain their methods; they sometimes change them without notice; and they might use a very complex calculation that not everyone can understand.

By relying on a simple count of views of your blog or followers on Twitter, you have some idea what these numbers mean without having to research a complicated formula or methodology.

Simple measures indicate whether time invested in the channel has resulted in attention or engagement from others. Use a tool for counting page views, in order to monitor if there is a spike or dip in interest in your content, or to investigate more detail about who is viewing which parts of it. Downloads of content or replies to it might mean more than views, in terms of the depth of attention paid to it. 


Some tools you can use for measuring and tracking your own online material include:

  1. Google Analytics is a tool with lots to offer. See this guide for beginners
  2. Analytics sections of your publishing platform e.g. on WordPress, Twitter, Pinterest, etc

Other social media analytics tools that are free or have free versions include: Audiense, Buffer, Klout, TweetReach and Hootsuite

 

Impact: a bigger picture

Metrics are only a tiny part of the impact story: visit our Impact Officer's most recent blog for a bigger picture!

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Twitter for researchers

Impactstory on twitter