More Than Citations and Impact Factor:

What are altmetrics? The scientific publishing community has traditionally measured the impact and reach of a research article at the journal level. The most commonly used metric is the impact factor, which measures the average number of citations of recent articles published in a journal. The ecosystem of research dissemination channels is becoming more broad and diverse, but traditional metrics have not yet evolved to measure these crucial signals. As a result, there has been a desire in the scientific community to get a more granular breakdown of an article's performance using article level metrics.

Researchers, funders and institutions are increasingly concerned about the impact of their work and returns on their investments. The traditional method of counting citations to measure impact misses much, not least the impact on wider society. For example: a public health paper about methods to encourage AIDS patients to take their medications properly may save lives, but not receive many citations because the nurses who put it into practice don't write research papers.

Scientists are increasingly discussing papers online, but on social media sites, rather than on publisher's sites. There's huge value in being able to see what your peers - and people in other fields - have said about an article. Up until now, this has been difficult to achieve.

Altmetric collects article level metrics and the online conversations around research on behalf of publishers, institutions and funders, combining a selection of online indicators (both scholarly and non-scholarly) to give a measurement of digital impact and reach. We do this by tracking, collecting and measuring large amounts of data collected from all of the places where scientists, patient advocates, journalists, nurses, engineers and members of the public talk about science online. Altmetric allows authors and publishers to see what people are saying about a scholarly paper and can tell them how much attention a paper is receiving relative to their peers.

This webinar was originally presented on November 12, 2014.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understanding of the altmetrics landscape (what they are, changes in the industry that led to their emergence, how they're measured)
  2. Introduction to two potential use cases: An individual who is trying to understand their impact and how a library is trying to understand its institutions impact across departments
  3. Understanding of free offerings that librarians could share with patrons

Who Should Attend

Librarians; campus communications and marketing professionals in campus PR offices; research-assessment coordinators; anyone interested in bibliometric.


Terrie E. Moffitt is professor at Duke Psychology and Neuroscience Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. She researches the interplay between nature and nurture in the origins of problem behaviors. Her particular interest is in antisocial and criminal behaviors. She is associate director of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study in New Zealand, which conducts a thirty-two-year longitudinal study of a 1972 birth cohort of one thousand individuals and their families. She also directs the Environmental-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study ("E-risk"), which follows a 1994 birth cohort of 1,116 British families with twins.

Alyson Williams is knowledge and learning specialist who leads the reference team and the embedded librarians for the Felipe Herrera Library at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). She coordinates information resource training for IDB staff. She is also the subject librarian for the Vice President for Countries and the Vice President for Private Sector within the bank. Alyson provides tailored information and publications support to these departments.

Sara Rouhi is product specialist at She has worked in scholarly publishing for seven years, first with the American Chemical Society as their library relations manager and now with focusing on sales and product management in North America. She speaks regularly at conferences, webinars, and on campuses and in libraries about altmetrics and scholarly communications in academic publishing. She also does stand-up and improv in the DC area with her indie troupe, Sistine Robot, and the Washington Improv Theater Harold Team, Madeline. Follow her on Twitter: @RouhiRoo.




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