An Intro to Altmetrics

If you’ve looked at any of the book pages on the NAP website in the last few months, you probably noticed a new feature: the Stats tab. This addition to the catalog page shows the number of total PDF downloads, downloads by country, and Altmetrics.

But what are Altmetrics? Researchers strive to show the impact their papers, books, and datasets are having beyond citations. Altmetrics (Alternative metrics) were created to address this need by locating and measuring attention to research from traditional and non-traditional media sources. Each indicator employed by this system can shed light on how a piece of research is read, reused, and built upon.

The Altmetric score is based on the amount of attention the article receives from social media and mainstream news media. As more people mention it, the score rises. However, each source contributes a different base amount to the final score. For instance, a newspaper article contributes more than a tweet. This data gives valuable insight as to who is reading these articles and how they are being shared. This information then reveals the scope of the article’s reach and influence, and allows researchers to learn more about their audience.

If you’re curious about which Academies reports had the highest Altmetric scores, so were we. Here’s the top five.