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Open Access


Altmetrics are non-traditional, Social Web-based measures of the reach and influence of scholarly output - they compliment the more traditional citation impact metrics such as impact factor.  Examples of altmetrics include downloads, bookmarks, blog posts, shares, and citation indexes. Altmetrics data can be used to highlight the amount and type of online attention that items receive. These measures show the impact of a wider type of items beyond traditional research journals (software, data sets, and slide decks, etc.) and demonstrate areas of influence outside of disciplinary boundaries and formal academic communities (through citations in public policy documents and references in patents, learning objects, and press coverage, for instance).

Wiley makes altmetrics available for their fully open access journals. Other scholarly publishers such as Elsevier and Sage also offer article-level altmetrics, including comments and shares made by readers via social media channels, blogs, newspapers, etc. Here's an example from the ScienceDirect database:

When used with traditional, citation-based bibliometrics, altmetrics can form a more complete and detailed picture of the impact of scholarship. They can sometimes indicate the potential impact of research on society or a field of study. Altmetrics can be especially useful in discplines where journal articles are not the primary output.

Faculty can use altmetrics to

  • Determine who, where, and how their research is being used
  • Quantify how their research is being used
  • Spot potential collaborators in their field
  • Show the influence of their work inside and outside their field of study and academia
  • Learn what others think of their research
  • Demonstrate successful outreach
  • Pinpoint and filter other sources of importance
  • Provide a context for their work
  • Solicit research funding
  • Identify publications to submit to

For Tenure and Promotion

In a CV
Recommendations for including altmetrics in a CV include providing contextual information, such as percentiles, maps, and qualitative data. Here's one example from the CV of Trevor A. Branch, Biology, University of Washington:
Additional examples can be found at What Are Altmetrics? and in the University of Maryland Bibliometrics and Altmetrics: Mesuring the Impact of Knowledge guide.

Altmetrics Tools

Cathy Michael

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Cathy Michael
Ithaca College Library 953 Danby Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850‑7002