Traditional bibliometrics, where looking at publication impact, focus on traditional scholarly activity in the form of citations. These can have a number of limitations in providing a full picture of the impact of a scholarly output:
- May not be available til some time after the original article is published;
- Only provide information on who has cited a work in a peer-reviewed article, not who else is reading, sharing, discussing or commenting outside of traditaional publications;
- Are limited to the coverage of the particular citation data set used.
Increasingly, researchers share ideas and research at all stages of the research process online, and other researchers as well as a wider, non-academic audience, can engage with research outputs via a variety of different media such as twitter, blogs, youtube, news coverage etc.
This means that the 'impact' of research can be seen much more quickly, and across a much broader scope, than than might be reflected using traditional bibliometric data.
Altmetrics seek to measure the impact of articles by taking into account mentions by social media sites and other digital communications. There are various tools available which you might be interested in exploring, such as:
- Altmetric.com bookmarklet
Add a bookmark to your browser. Use it view any altmetric data on a particulat article you read. Example Durham authored article.
- PLoS Impact Explorer
An example of how altmetircs can be used, in this instance with publication data from Public Library of Science.
Free to use, providing a simple profile page indicating levels of scholarly and non-scholarly "impact" from sources such as Twitter, Delicious, Slideshare, Figshare, PLoS, Scopus, Wikipedia, ORCID, Dryad, Mendeley, PubMed and F1000. For an idea of how this can look, check out this example profile.
Free to use, providing a simple profile page to promtoe your output, and track where and how engagement is taking place.