Skip to main content

Altmetrics: Where Do Altmetrics Come From?

"Altmetrics is the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship." according to

Sources of altmetrics


If you created a website for your research project you can collect statistics about who is using it. Google Analytics is a free platform that keeps track of this information and provides reports that include information such as which state/country your users are from and which pages/items are being clicked and used.

If you don't want to use Google Analytics there are other programs available. If you are using a service like Word Press they may already collect this information for you.

Social Media & the Social Web

The other place you can gather altmetrics is through online social interactions. Not all platforms are open, but Twitter for example, has an open API which lets other websites connect to it and harvest statistics. Retweets, likes/favorites, and shares are a way to track the interest level of a research project or article. Comments on blogs, reviews, articles, etc. are another place you can look.

Bookmarking and Reference Management Tools

Another source of altmetrics are social bookmarking and reference management tools. There's been some research that shows that the number of times an article is "saved" by users may correlate to later citations. (see Altmetrics in the Wild: Using Social Media to Explore Scholarly Impact for more information).

Who and what have adopted altmetrics

PLOS metrics examplePublishers


Some publishers provide altmetrics on their websites to authors and the public. Many large publishers are now collecting usage data or are partnering with other companies to provide this information to their users. PLOS has been a leader in providing altmetrics to both readers and authors. Each article they publish has a "Metrics" section which provides a wealth of information. Click the image below to see an example.


Many digital repositoriesprovide authors with a dashboard (example below) that show statistics about their works in the repository. These statistics are separate from the statistics gathered by publishers so if you are archiving your work in a digital repository make sure you take these into account.




Altmetrics Examples

This list shares some examples and is by no means exhaustive. Some publishers may provide authors with statistics but do not make them publicly accessible (which is great for authors but doesn't help anyone else).

Repository Examples

DR@ISU provides two different altmetrics

  1. Altmetrics based off of the downloads (available to everyone) and page views (available to authors) of the article in the repository.
  2. A badge that links to the published article's Altmetric score.
Close This