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Research Impact Toolkit - Art

What are Altmetrics?

chat bubbles vector​Altmetrics are measures of research impact that supplement citations. They measure the wider, societal impacts of scholarly works by tracking how they are discussed, shared, saved, read, and reused by scholars and the public. Altmetrics are sourced from many web platforms and medias: number of downloads, shares, and mentions in venues such as institutional repositories, government documents, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, blogs, etc), and web-based reference managers like Mendeley and Zotero.

They are useful supplementary measures of impact, best used in tandem with traditional measures like citation analysis. Combined, these metrics can illustrate the broad impact of your work.

Popular Tools to Track these Alternative Measures

Altmetric bookmarklet example

Pros and Cons Identified about these Emerging Metrics


  • Gauges impact of research before it enters the citation cycle
  • Demonstrates impact in both the social and scholarly realm
  • Measures the impact of different types of scholarly or creative outputs (e.g., datasets or visual arts)


  • Lack of agreement on what metrics, data sources, or tools are most valuable
  • Lack of consistent adoption across disciplines and institutions

Altmetrics In-depth