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Altmetric at Dundee: Who's talking about your research?

A guide on how to make use of Altmetrics

What is Altmetric?

Altmetric logo with black text.

  • Altmetric is an online tool that can be used to track social media attention to research outputs.
  • Altmetrics (or Alternative metrics) show how scholarly works are being shared, used and discussed on the Web and in social media.
  • Altmetrics complement traditional metrics such as 'times cited' counts displayed in databases like Web of Science and Scopus.
  • Altmetric monitors social media sites, blog posts, news stories, Wikipedia, Mendeley, Twitter, Facebook, government policy documents, patents and other sources for mentions of outputs. 

What is the Altmetric donut?

  • Altmetric scores for articles and outputs are displayed in a colourful donut. The colours reflect where the posts mentioning the article came from. For example, red means that the article has been mentioned by mainstream news outlets, blue means it has been tweeted about.
  • The Altmetric donut visualization and Altmetric Attention Score have been developed to help give an at-a-glance summary of the online attention an article has received.
  • The number inside the donut is the Altmetric Attention Score for the article being viewed.
  • This score is a weighted quantitative measure of the quality and quantity of attention that the article has received based on counts of mentions in the various sources Altmetric tracks.
  • You may see these donuts displayed in Discovery Research Portal or at a publisher web site.
  • A higher score indicates a larger amount of attention.
  • The donut provides more details via the Altmetric website - here you can view the individual mentions by type, for example, a list of all the mentions in News. 
  • If the article was published before July 2011, Altmetric will have missed any short-lived mentions of it, tweets in particular. Its score won’t be accurate, and will represent a lower bound of the attention received.

Altmetric text mine news sources for mentions of the journal title and author names, and cross-reference this with an external database to determine which article the news story is about. For all other sources, for Altmetric to be able to pick up the mention automatically there needs to be an HTML link to the article page (the one with a DOI or other unique identifier on) in the main body of the text.

For Mendeley and Citeulike, Altmetric show counts of readers but they do not contribute to the donut or score.

Altmetric at a glance

What are the most useful things I need to know about Altmetrics?

  • Set search alerts on your account, whenever someone mentions your work you receive an email about it 
  • Browse publications by author or by department using Altmetric for Institutions
  • If you are an Arts and Humanities researcher - use it for rapid feedback on your work as opposed to book reviews that can take years to come out
  • If you are working in business or economics you may be interested in policy citations
  • Narrow the discussion about the work down to country level if this is specific to your research for example public health
  • If talking about your work online use the DOI so your work can be tracked or use the link provided on the paper in Discovery Research Portal to generate a Tweet or Facebook post about the paper as it includes the DOI along with the title 
  • Altmetric benchmarks your work 
  • Look at the context of attention – can be positive, negative or neutral. Keep an eye on how it's being received
  • Build relationships and expand your network, use it to find someone working in your field, for future collaborations or discussion online 
  • Identify hot topics – may influence your choice of research projects or identify potential collaborators
  • Export data for further analysis 

If you require any help using Altmetrics please email and we would be happy to meet via Teams to demonstrate how you can make use of Altmetrics,.

Score in context

Screenshot of where to find 'Attention Score in Context' on Altmetric record

Within the Altmetric report choose the "Attention Score in Context" tab (highlighted in the screenshot above) which shows some different contexts to help you understand if the level of attention is typical compared to similar articles.


Can you define a good Altmetric score?

As an Altmetric score measures attention - which could be good or bad - you can't really say that a score is 'good' as such.

Look at the attention score in context instead.

  1. The interactive Altmetric donut score takes you to the Altmetric report of the article.
  2. Within the Altmetric report choose the "Attention Score in Context" tab which shows some different contexts to help you understand if the level of attention is typical compared to similar articles.
  3. You can see how the article's score compares to other articles from the same journal, or from the same journal and published within the same three month period.

Altmetric calculate these percentiles by looking at everything indexed in the Altmetric database, which you can browse using the Explorer. Altmetric don't include articles that didn't get any attention.

If the Score tab says that an article is ranked #10 out of 220 published in the same journal it means the 220 articles that have been mentioned at least once on a tracked data source, rather than that the journal has published 220 articles in total.

If an article scores 20 or more it's doing much better than most of its peers.

Bookmarklet - a tool to help you find a papers Altmetrics

You've just had a paper published or you are reading a paper online and you want to find out the Altmetric details for the paper. A useful tool to help you do this is Bookmarklet

  1. Add Bookmarklet to your Bookmarks toolbar (install for free on Chrome, Firefox and Safari).
  2. Go to the paper.
  3. Select "Altmetric it!" from the bookmarks toolbar. A pop up box appears at the top right of the paper with the article level metrics from the Bookmarklet.

Note: Bookmarklet only works on PubMed, arXiv or pages containing a DOI with Google Scholar friendly citation metadata.