Skip to main content

Metrics

This guide provides information on the different types of research metrics that can provide evidence of your research expertise and experience; where to source them; and ensuring your author profile data is up to date and accurate.

About

Altmetrics are metrics and qualitative data that are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics. They can explain both the volume and nature of attention that research receives online.

They directly measure the attention of a publication by how many times it has been viewed, downloaded, liked, shared or mentioned from a variety of online tools and social media.

Altmetrics can be used to demonstrate the dissemination of your research outside of academia and traditional discipline boundaries; and evidence of community, national, and/or international engagement.

They can also indicate potential impact, for example mentions in policy documents and commentary from experts and practitioners. Look at who is saying what about your research, where in the world it is being cited, reused, read etc.

Considerations

  • Altmetrics are a complement to, not a replacement for traditional citation-based metrics.
  • The overall attention received by a research output does not indicate the quality of that output. Make sure you look at the qualitative data behind the metrics, i.e. who is talking about your research and what they are saying.

Types of Tracking Tools

Western Sydney University Library provides access to Altmetric Explorer to track and analyse the attention scholarly outputs receive online. Altmetric Explorer gathers data from several sources, including:

  • Social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.
  • Mainstream media and blogs.
  • Policy documents and patents.
  • Online reference managers like Mendeley and publisher download counts.

The Altmetric donut is a visual representation of the types of attention that output has received. Each colour of the donut represents a different source of attention.

The Altmetric Attention Score (pictured inside the donut below) represents a weighted count of the amount of attention that output has received. A weighted count means that it reflects both the quantity of posts and the quality of the post's source. For example, a news story is likely to have more reach than a Tweet or LinkedIn post.

An example:

Source: Smith, C. A., Armour, M., & Dahlen, H. G. (2017). Acupuncture or acupressure for induction of labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (10). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD002962.pub4 

Ensure you always include the permanent identifier (such as DOI or ISBN) when posting about your work online, so that Altmetric Explorer can track and record this activity.  Access Altmetric Explorer via the link below and create a free account using your Western email address to start tracking your scholarly outputs.

PlumX Metrics is a tracking tool available in Scopus. It provides both traditional citations and altmetrics in one overall view. PlumX gathers metrics for scholarly outputs and categorises them into five categories, with the purpose of enabling analysis by comparing metrics that are "like for like":

  1. Citations - traditional citations as well as patent, clinical and policy citations.
  2. Usage - clicks, downloads, views, library holdings, video plays.
  3. Captures - bookmarks, favourites, readers, watchers, exports/saves.
  4. Mentions - blog posts, comments, reviews, news media, Wikipedia references.
  5. Social Media - shares, likes, comments, tweets.

Similar to the Altmetric Explorer donut, the Plum Print (pictured below) is a visual representation of the relative number of metrics in each category. Each colour of the print represents a different category of attention.

An example:

Citations: Citation Indexes: 35. Usage: Abstract Views: 519, Full Text Views: 403, Link-outs: 60. Captures: Exports-Saves: 48, Readers: 47. Mentions: News Mentions: 6. Social Media: Tweets: 41.

Source: Power, E. R. (2017). Renting with pets: A pathway to housing insecurity? Housing Studies, 32(3), 336-360. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673037.2016.1210095 

Access PlumX Metrics via Scopus. The Plum Print will be displayed on the 'Document details' pages of articles/scholarly outputs. Click 'see details' for specific mentions.

Sources for Alternative Metrics

© Western Sydney University, unless otherwise attributed.
Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)