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Research Impact: Altmetrics and Article Level Metrics

Making an impact and measuring the impact of your research

Bibliometrics v Altmetrics

Bibliometrics are ways of measuring influence or impact of academic literature. Well known traditional metrics include journal impact factor, h-index and citation counts.

Altmetrics are a way of evaluating impact based on more than just citation counts.

  • Article downloads
  • Blog mentions
  • Twitter mentions
  • Media mentions
  • and more...

Altmetrics can help researchers understand how their outputs are being shared and discussed via social media and online and may supplement the information gained from traditional impact metrics.

Some of the companies developing altmetric tools and products are listed on this page.

An introduction to altmetrics

Types of metrics

Journal-level metrics

  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Eigenfactor
  • SJR and SNIP

Author-level metrics

  • H-Index

Article-level metrics

  • Traditional citation analysis
  • New ways of measuring impact / attention = altmetrics

Things to do watch a range of social media sites, newspapers, government policy documents and other sources for mentions of scholarly articles. Altmetric tracks what people are saying about papers online.

Impact Story

ImpactStory is an open-source, web-based tool that helps researchers explore and share the diverse impacts of all their research products, from traditional ones like journal articles, to emerging products like blog posts, datasets, and software.

Impactstory is now a subscription product, charging an annual or monthly fee (from August 2014)

Plum Analytics

Plum Analytics is aimed at helping institutions understand the influence of their researchers’ work by using newer alternative metrics, called altmetrics, alongside traditional measures of research impact

Plum Analytics tracks more than 20 different types of 'artifacts', including journal articles, books, videos, presentations, conference proceedings, datasets, source code, cases, and more.

Plum Analytics is a subscription based product, and in January 2014, was bought by EBSCO.


PLOS Article Level Metrics project began in 2009.

Article Level Metrics are available upon publication for every article published in PLOS. It tracks usage, citations and social web activity.