What is Altmetrics?

ADCI Solutions
3 min readOct 30, 2020

How to measure the success of scholarly research in the Internet era?

“What is Altmetry?” by ADCI Solutions
“What is Altmetrics?” by ADCI Solutions

With the growth of the Internet, the approach to the popularity assessment of anything, including scientific research, has changed.

Links to articles to Wikipedia, social media, posts on personal blogs, comments on that blog - all this and much more is a performance indicator of success.

Therefore, it became necessary to expand the range of tools for measuring this success. Altmetrics was designed for that purpose.

Altmetrics is a part of the infometrics science. It is working on assessing the amount of bibliographic data. In the period from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, specific indicators found their roots, which laid the foundation for this scientific discipline of infometrics. In this list, the doctoral dissertation of the American sociologist Robert Merton on the topic “Science, Technology, and Society in 17th Century England” stands out.

Infometrics takes a little bit from each of the disciplines:

  • Bibliometrics investigates the quality and impact of the work for scientists and institutes in the scientific world via special indicators.
  • Scientometrics uses the same bibliometric indicators and explores the development of science.
  • Webometrics looks into the quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures, and technologies on the Web. This gives rise to bibliometric and infometrics approaches.

The term came from a hashtag on Twitter. Тhe co-founder of Impactstory company - Jason Priem, was the first to use it. He considers his overriding goal is to provide the maximum availability of scientific articles online. In October 2010, Priem and his colleagues released Altmetrics: a manifesto. It says that ways of assessing the impact of articles on research activities remain valuable in practice, but they are slow and outdated therefore they don’t fit the present. The impact factor and other metrics became insufficient. Now, their digital copies can be stored and processed in reference management software such as Zotero and Mendeley.

The Digital Science company released Altmetrics in 2011. The service monitors the following sources for the mention, citation, and links from scientific articles, such as public policy documents, mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia, social media, and other unconventional sources. The collected information is visualized in a colored badge, such as a donut in which every color corresponds to a specific source. The Donut is placed on the page with a scientific article.

When there are one or two badges, you can use the service recommendations. But if your Drupal site has hundreds of references within one bibliography, the Altmetrics module will help you put a badge. This module is part of the Bibliography & Citation project developed by ADCI Solutions.

From our article, you will learn the short history of the evolution of the statistical methods for analyzing scientific publications, the way to insert an Altmetrics badge using our module, the way to control the growing popularity of scientific publications that store on your Drupal website.

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