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Citation Research and Impact Metrics: Altmetric Score


Introduction to:
Article Assessments
Author Assessments
Country Assessments
Journal Rankings

Altmetric Score

Citation Benchmarking
Citation Counts for: 
Citation Distribution, see Citation Benchmarking

Eigenfactor Score, see Other Journal Rankings
ERIH Plus, see Other Journal Rankings

Field-weighted citation impact (FWCI), see Citation Benchmarking
FWCI, see Citation Benchmarking

Google Scholar (Journal) Metrics, see Other Journal Rankings

Harzing, see Other Journal Rankings

iCite for:
---Articles, see Citation Benchmarking

Journal Impact Factor

NIH ranking, see iCite

Publish or Perish software, see Citation Counts for Authors: Other Sources

RCR, see iCite
Relative Citation Ratio, see iCite

Scimago Country Rank (SCR)
Scimago Journal Rank, see CiteScore 
SJR, see CiteScore
SNIP, see CiteScore​
​Source Normalized Impact per Paper, see CiteScore

Usage Counts

What You Need to Know

Altmetric tries to capture impact primarily in social media and in non-traditional publishing venues.  Altmetric looks at public policy documents; mainstream media; blogs; peer-review forums such as PubPeer, Publons, and F1000; Wikipedia; Mendeley and CiteULike (citation management services); social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, You Tube, and Reddit; plus citation data from Scopus.  Note that Mendeley readers, Scopus citation counts and CiteULike bookmarks do not count towards the score. 

The Altmetric score can be found in some databases, most notably, Library One Search,  Experts.ASU, and on some publisher websites.  The numerical score is usually enclosed in a colorful "donut" whose colors represent the amount and source of the data, although a smaller text icon may be used instead.  Click on whatever icon is displayed to get a detailed report.  

Important Points:

  • Although the numerical score is easy to understand (the higher the score, the more attention the article is getting), the calculation for the score is complicated and difficult to reproduce. 
  • An article's Altmetric score can change over time and sometimes even decrease
  • Not every article has an Altmetric score.
    • Altmetric started collecting data in the last half of 2011, so most older articles do not have scores unless they have mentions in recent years. 
    • Many articles do not get mentioned in the non-traditional sources that Altmetric covers. 
    • Some articles may be mentioned in non-traditional sources but not counted by Altmetric because of lack of the appropriate metadata in the source.
  • Articles with high citation counts may have low Altmetric scores and vice versa.
  • Because Altmetric is looking at online information sources, these mentions are apt to show up quicker than scholarly citations.  
  • The score is not a measure of quality as an article may be talked about for negative as well as positive reasons.



  • To determine if an article has been mentioned in non-traditional sources. 
  • To determine if there has been societal impact.
  • As an additional source of information, but not as a replacement, for citation metrics.


Note: "altmetrics" (small "a", plural) is a shortcut for the phrase "alternative metrics," meaning alternatives to citation metrics.  "Altmetric" (capital "A", singular) is a company (http://altmetric.com) producing altmetrics for the library and publishing communities. 


The Altmetric score is contained in the Library One Search and Experts.ASU databases.  Simply find the article of interest by entering it's title within parentheses, or search an author's name for a list of their publications.  If the "donut" is available (not every article will have one), click on the donut to see the details. 

The Altmetric Details Page provides:

  • Bibliographic information
  • Information about the Altmetric score (what percentile it falls in regarding all research articles scored by Altmetric, articles of the same age, plus articles of the same age and source)  
  • Number of mentions in each source
  • Number of readers on Mendeley and CiteULike
  • Links to the items mentioning the article (for articles with many mentions, only recent items may be available)
  • Demographic and geographic information about the Twitter and Mendeley users who mentioned the article



  • The Scopus database includes some Altmetric data; this is located on an article's full record at the bottom of the right-hand column.  The data includes primarily the number of Mendeley readers, their demographic/geographicinformation, and the number of CiteULike bookmarks. Number of mentions in social media may be included, too, but the Altmetric Score is not.  

  • Some publishers are also putting the Altmetric Score on their journal articles. 


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