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Altmetrics: The New Kid on the Block

 , December 02, 2014

With a Journal Impact Factor, h5-Index and download counts, do we need “Alternative Metrics”?

We have traditionally relied on citation counts and the Journal Impact Factor to ascertain the value of scholarly work.  With the rise in digital publishing and sharing via the social web such scholarly work is available very rapidly to a large audience, an audience not limited to a specific discipline.  Alternative Metrics or Altmetrics by tracking the sharing or mentions of scholarly work in social media (e.g. Twitter), in social bookmarking sites (CiteULike) and web-based bibliography tools (e.g. Mendeley) can measure the impact of scholarly work better and faster than traditional indices that do not reflect this form of dissemination and viewership.  

There are several altmetrics utilities.  There is some early evidence that there is moderate positive correlation between altmetrics and citations.  This relationship is strongest for mentions in blog posts and news outlets.  

Altmetric ( is a popular tool that collects mentions of scholarly work from across the web.  JGIM publisher Springer now provides Altmetric data for articles.  You can find the JGIM articles with the highest Altmetric score here.



Further Reading:

  • Galligan, Finbar, and Sharon Dyas-Correia. “Altmetrics: Rethinking the Way We Measure.” Serials Review 39, no. 1 (March 2013): 56–61. doi:10.1016/j.serrev.2013.01.003.
  • Howard, Jennifer. “Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2012
  • Brumback, Roger A. “Impact Factor Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back.” Journal of Child Neurology 24, no. 3 (March 1, 2009): 260–62. doi:10.1177/0883073808331366.