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Learn how to use altmetrics or alternative metrics

Research Stories

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.

Example #1 Example #2

The small home ranges and large local ecological impacts of pet cats 

Rethinking the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome—a reanalysis and evaluation of findings from a recent major trial of graded exercise and CBT 

  • Open access published article with a DOI
  • Log into Dimensions and copy and paste the DOI to see the social media mentions picked up by Altmetric in the record – click on the donut to open in new page
  • Social media can be used to link to sources like youtube for example  
  • Open access published article with a DOI 
  • Log into Dimensions and copy and paste the DOI to see the social media mentions picked up by Altmetric in the record – click on the donut to open in new page
  • Review the different tabs – note the high level of tweets from the public

Overseas Research Stories

Overseas universities include altmetrics and related concepts like social media engagement requirements in their tenure & promotion preparation guidelines.


  • Trevor A. Branch, Biology, University of Washington (USA)
    Trevor used altmetrics to showcase the success of his outreach and service efforts in his dossier. He also included altmetrics in selected parts of his tenure CV, using the score & percentile information and some citation counts to highlight the success of particular papers.
  • Ahmed Moustafa, Biology, American University in Cairo (Egypt)
    Ahmed included contextual altmetrics in his dossier narrative, using a screenshot of his Impactstory profile’s “highly cited”, “highly discussed”, and other badges to showcase the relative use and influence of his publications. He also used Google Scholar citations to explain the reuse of a research software package he created (JAligner), as traditional citation metrics couldn’t capture how often JAligner had been mentioned in others’ publications.
  • Steven B. Roberts, Biology, University of Washington (USA)
    Steven included altmetrics both in his Outreach & Engagement section of his dossier (seen in the grid on his lab website) and also within the CV he included in his dossier.
  • Heather Coates, University Library, IUPUI (USA)
    Heather added altmetrics to Section 8 of her tenure dossier in order to demonstrate the influence of her articles and presentations alike–important for a profession where research is often shared in presentations, rather than publications.


Adapted from What are Altmetrics? under CC BY licence