Regardless of the industry, metrics are always essential tools in monitoring progress, growth, interest, and potential. In our previous blog, we discussed how scholarly publishing benefits from metrics such as abstracts, denials, usage, sessions, and full texts. However, in the academic publishing industry, altmetrics are alternative metrics which are used instead of traditional citation impact metrics. Altmetrics measure the impact of work through citation counts, article views, downloads, data referrals, and social media mentions. Websites, universities, funders, researchers, and publishers are increasingly using altmerics for their own specific purposes.

Categories of Altmetrics

Altmetrics are increasingly becoming vital to measure impact and have a broad range of metrics. ImpactStory and Public Library of Science. have used five classifications of altmetrics.

1) Viewed

The number of views was one of the first altmerics used. This category of altmetrics helps identify how many times a single paper was looked at. Usually, the HTML views and PDF downloads are calculated by publishers.

2) Saved

This altmetric is vital in identifying the number of people bookmarked a paper. Bookmarks are an excellent reference by identifying the relevance of a paper. Mendeley, CiteULike, and other social bookmarking sites provide such information.

3) Cited

Usually, citations are tracked from CrossRef, Google Scholar, Scopus, and PubMed Central. However, altmetrics take a step ahead by tracking secondary sources and additional knowledge sources. For example, references by Wikipedia would count as well.

4) Discussed

The engagement regarding a specific paper is an important altmetric. Academic blogs, journal comments, and social media sites become pivotal sources in identifying discussion. Even social media discussions become categorized as well. For example, discussions on Twitter can be identified with ‘tweetations’, Twindex, and Twimpact Factor.

5) Recommended

This altmetric is used by F1000Prime. Academic leaders, scientists, and their associates compose of a faculty which recommend articles. Along with being recommended, the article are related and explanations for the recommendations are provided.

Being recognized is one of the most major goals in academic publishing. While the quantity of academic work rapidly increases, identifying the impact of a journal becomes a vital goal. By identifying recommendations, conversations, bookmarkings, downloads, and citations – altmetrics become the key in helping academic journals become distinguished in an industry that is rapidly evolving.