Traditional metrics do not necessarily provide the whole picture of research impact, especially in fields outside of the sciences.
Altmetrics use a range of measurements to show research impact. They measure both impact on a field or discipline and impact on society. Metrics include:
- Digital use and sharing
- Download counts
- Social media indicators (Tweets or Facebook likes)
- Blog posts
- Wikipedia citations
- Public engagement
Altmetrics can be useful for early-career researchers or new publications that need time to gain citation counts. They also account for other types of publications, such as scholarly blogs, tweets, nanopublications, datasets, and other forms of self-publishing.
Altmetrics should be used in combination with traditional metrics to establish a holistic view of research impact.