Altmetrics – Who’s talking about your research?

Image: The Art of Social Media, by mkhmarketing, CC BY.

Image: The Art of Social Media, by mkhmarketing, CC BY.

Alternative Metrics = Altmetrics

Alternative Metrics, more commonly known as Altmetrics, are a quantifiable measure of social media attention your research is getting online outside of academia, in media, blogs and other public digital domains. Altmetrics do not replace citations; they complement them. By using altmetrics you can see who is talking about your research, where and when.

Why look at the alternative metrics of an item?
  • Track the early impact of research.
  • Present evidence or impacts on society, sometimes required by public and private funders.
  • Showcase attention beyond academia, allowing for additional future directions.
  • Highlight areas of potential collaboration by using the detailed breakdowns of the mentions received.

Tools for altmetrics

Altmetric logoAltmetric

The University subscribes to Altmetric Explorer for Institutions which tracks mentions of your research outputs in public policy documents, news outlets, online reference managers, blogs, social media and peer review forums.

Click the colourful “donut” on the University of Auckland Research Repository, ResearchSpace, and Research Outputs to see the detail of the mentions the colours represent for that particular item.

Introduction to Altmetric for Institutions is a short video that explains what you can find in Altmetric.

University of Auckland staff and students will also be able to access a web portal which aggregates author and departmental mentions. Altmetric Explorer for Institutions tracks papers with unique identifiers, including DOI and PubMed ID. The alert function allows you to keep up to date with a research output, and can track more than dozen online research output types.

Connect to Altmetric Explorer

Altmetric also has a free plug-in for your browser, Altmetric Booklet. This gives you item-level altmetrics at the point of access.

A series of workshops will be taking place to help staff and researchers get the most out of this tool. Please check with your Subject Librarian.

Group of altmetrics logosPlumX

PlumX tracks over 20 types of research output from over 30 sources. University of Auckland staff and students can see PlumX metrics at item level when viewing the item through the Scopus database.

  • For more information, see PlumX.

Impactstory is a free open access tool that offers article-level metrics. It draws from a variety of social and scholarly data sources, including Facebook, Twitter, CiteULike, Delicious, PubMed, Scopus, CrossRef, Scienceseeker, Mendeley, Wikipedia, Slideshare, Dryad, and Figshare.


PLoS Article Level Metrics (ALMs), is an open source tool that tracks altmetrics impact of research in their publications.

A summary of these tools is on the Track-your-Impact web page.

Fiona Lamont, Assistant Librarian, Research Support Services