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Library Research Support: Altmetrics

Support for Research Staff & Research Students

Altmetrics for authors, researchers and students

This guide collects guidance for authors and research managers looking to view the reach of published research, and for students and teaching staff as an additional tool to explore published scholarly research and read around a topic; 

  1. What are Altmetrics: Overview of altmetrics for authors and students.
  2. Altmetric Tools: free tools for students and researchers to find altmetric data on the go.
  3. Altmetrics @Durham - viewing altmetric data: examples of what altmetric data provides and where you might find it.
  4. Altmetrics @Durham - Institutional Explorer: explore altmetrics global database, or focus your own or your departments data.

What are Altmetrics?

What are Altmetrics?

Where traditional bibliometrics provide indicators of 'attention' focussed on traditional scholarly activity, altmetrics (alternative metrics) provide a measure of the 'attention' beyond citations in scholarly publications. As with citation data, there are different providers of altmetric data, and you may have noticed them as you accessed article you have found.

Example altmetric logos

(Examples above:, PlumX Metrics, PLoS)

They can provide a measure of how scholarly publications are shared, used and discussed online. This can give an indication of the influence and engagement of a publication in online newspapers and news services, blogs, citation in wikipedia articles and Q&A services, views and downloads from some academic databases, sharing via social media networks and use in reference management platforms.

Why 'Altmetrics'?

The term was first proposed in a tweet by Jason Priem in September 2010:

.. and further detailed in the Altmetric Manifesto, which set out the aim for altmetrics to "expand our view of what impact looks like, but also of what’s making the impact ... [to support tools which] should use the rich semantic data from altmetrics to ask “how and why?” as well as “how many?”


Altmetric - A beginner's guide

Altmetrics @Durham

(1) Viewing altmetric data for articles you have identified

The short slide presentation below highlights some of the locations you can find altmetric data, or how you can look up altmetric data for an article you have found in two widely used Altmetric services, PlumX Metrics and

(2) Institutional Explorer from

Durham University has a subscription to's Institutional Explorer Dashboard. This allows user to both search the full Altmetric database, or to view altmetric data surrounding the research outputs of specific authors, research groups/departments, and institutes at Durham University.

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