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Spreading the Word: Publishing Your Research & Extending Your Impact: Altmetrics

This guide supports a scholarly communication workshop given in 2015.

What are article-level metrics?

Almetrics is used to refer to "alternative metrics" or "article-level metrics." As the internet accelerated dissemination of scholarly work, scholars wanted a way to evaluate a work's impact beyond the more traditional methods of citation counts and journal impact factors. Altmetrics attempts to fill that gap by using social media mentions, link backs, blogs, news outlet coverage, and other web metrics to measure the impact of a particular work. Altmetrics are especially well  suited to datasets and types of scholarly work not covered by traditional metrics. As with other metrics, the Altmetric score doesn't necessarily tell you anything about the quality of the individual publication. It's always best to review the publication yourself and investigate mentions as need be.

Further Reading


Journals published by Springer, Wiley, Nature Publishing Group, and select Elsevier publications are now including altmetric tabs on individual articles.

In USC Libraries Main Search option an Altmetric button will now appear if/when there is altmetric data available for a given publication. By mousing-over the altmetric button you will see what online activity or attention the work has received. In addition, each of the platforms/sites listed is linked to a ProQuest/Altmetric website (that opens in a new page) which includes a list of the mentions for you to explore: 

If you click on the button a new page will open taking you to a joint ProQuest/Altmetric website that includes  more detailed information (demographics, geography of mention,and an option to set up alerts if/when this publication is mentioned in the future). This button will also show up on the Find It @ USC Sidebar and Results Pages if there is data available. 

Using Almetric Bookmarklet

Altmetric Bookmarklet can be used in Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari. It is a free bookmark tool from which creates other products for analyzing almetrics through paid subscriptions.Clicking the bookmarklet will display a colorful wheel containing the article score and additional information about where it was mentioned.

  • The Bookmarklet only works on pages containing a DOI
  • It only supports publishers who embed Google Scholar friendly citation metadata on their pages by default
  • Twitter mentions are only available for articles published since July 2011