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Learn how to use altmetrics or alternative metrics

Writing an impact narrative with altmetrics

Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your narrative:

  • Use plain language; avoid jargon
  • Add context when you can, e.g. in addition to listing the number of news outlets, give a bit more detail like which news outlets are sharing your work or what the headlines are
  • Don’t use the Altmetric Attention Score unless you provide more context
  • What kind of impact are you trying to describe?
  • Global impact – consider highlighting the number of countries your work has been shared in
  • Public impact – look to news, social media, wikipedia, etc.

For some examples and additional resources:

Altmetrics in promotion

Universities often include altmetrics and related concepts like social media engagement requirements in their tenure & promotion preparation guidelines. Taking the time to review relevant altmetrics and engagement with your work may help bolster attempts to display the impact of your work.


Increasing visibility and engagement

Factors that can help to generate and demonstrate research impact include

  • having a DOI
  • being open access
  • using social media to ‘reach out’ to researchers and the public
  • having a communications strategy.

Altmetrics that track and count ‘mentions’ of research on the Internet can, along with traditional citation metrics, demonstrate impact. Of value in telling the full story about a research output are platforms that ‘pull together’ both forms and provide contextualised altmetrics rather than counts of views or downloads.