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Quantifying the Impact of My Publications: Article Metrics

This libguide provides guidance on metrics and reports that can be used to quantify performance and impact based on publication data.

Article Metrics and Altmetrics

Article metrics are metrics based on usage of a scholarly work or components of a work such as figures, or a non-article work such as software or slides, and its subsequent application or use. A peer-reviewed journal article is one example of a scholarly work.

An example of a traditional article metric is a citation to a work noted in the scholarly literature which allows for in-context understanding as to the nature, purpose and motivation of the citing author/s. See the Citations tab for more information.

With the advent of sophisticated digital applications, publishers and vendors developed other types of article metrics based on usage of the work in its digital format such as the number of times a work is read, viewed or downloaded. These are also referred to as altmetrics or alternative metrics.

Public Library of Science (PLoS) publishers, the first to offer quantitative usage counts in 2009, provides perhaps the most highly-developed publisher platform that provides number of reads, views or downloads. 

Other examples of altmetrics or alternative metrics represent an immediate set of metrics that can be captured to determine how a work is shared among others, disseminated further, or commented upon using various social media-based platforms. Works can be in other formats besides the traditional journal article such as figures, slides, datasets, software, and unpublished works. These metrics are generated by a variety of audiences including non-academic audiences, and are considered to be representative of the level of "public or social engagement" activity based on a work.

Examples:

  • Bookmarks or Saves to online reference managers such as Mendeley
  • Mentions in social network sites such as Twitter or Facebook
  • Dicussions in blogs and mainstream media
  • Favorites or Likes in sites such as Slideshare, YouTube or Facebook
  • Recommendations in sites such as Figshare
  • Comments/annotations from readers in platforms such as PubMed Commons
  • Reviews in post-peer review resources such as F1000Prime                                                                                                           

Why are Altmetrics or Alternative Metrics Useful?

Non-citation metrics can be useful as they provide supplemental metrics that can be used by authors to quantify the influence or impact of their works, and go beyond the traditional peer-reviewed journal article to include other scholarly works such as datasets, software, slides, figures, unpublished works such as a policy brief, etc. Some metrics such as online views or comments or recommendations represent early-stage engagement indicators of how and by whom a work is being shared, used, commented on, and disseminated further.  Who is reading the new work? Who is tweeting about the new work? Where are they tweeting from? Is the work being commented on in a blog posting? By whom? A scientist or a policy-maker or a layperson? Are users bookmarking the work in Mendeley? Is the work the topic of an article in the press? Is a user viewing the slides in Slideshare? Is a user viewing the figure in Figshare?

The idea behind non-citation metrics is to gauge nascent influence or attention a work is garnering on various online platforms. It is evidence of the outreach of a work and serves as a complementary means to traditional citations as well as allowing authors to highlight multiple examples of scholarly output.

Altmetrics or Alternative Metrics Platforms and Tools

Tips for Using Altmetric Data

Scopus Metrics Module

Use the new Article Metrics Module in Scopus.

“By combining citation and alternative metrics, this new Article Metrics module will provide a comprehensive view of both the impact of and community engagement with an article.”

The Scopus Article Metrics includes the following metrics:

  • Scholarly Activity — Downloads and posts in common research tools such as Mendeley and CiteULike
  • Social Activity — Mentions characterized by rapid, brief engagement on platforms used by the public, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+
  • Scholarly Commentary — Reviews, articles and blogs by experts and scholars, such as F1000 Prime, research blogs and Wikipedia
  • Mass Media — Coverage of research output in the mass media (e.g., coverage in top tier media media)

In addition to these metrics, Scopus is introducing new percentile benchmarks to show how article citations or activity compare with the averages for similar articles, taking into account:

  • Date of publication
  • Document type
  • Disciplines associated with its source

The full metric module is available from the document details sidebar on the Scopus record page. The Metrics sidebar highlights the minimal number of meaningful metrics a researcher needs to evaluate both citation impact and levels of community engagement. Click on “View All Metrics” to be directed to the full metric module.

Do You Know How Often Your Work is Being Accessed Via PMC?

If you have works in PubMed Central you can obtain use statistics on how frequently your works are being accessed.

See NIHMS Users: Do You Know How Often Your Paper is Being Accessed Via PMC? Here’s How to Find Out for guidance on how to obtain use statistics.

What Happens Online in 60 Seconds?

Qmee Online in 60 Seconds Infographic
Online in 60 Seconds [Infographic] is an infographic that was produced by Qmee