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Alternative Metrics

This guides provide an introduction and overview of alternative metrics and how to use the tool Altmetric Explorer.

Reading the Altmetric Explorer donut

The Altmetric Explorer attention score and donut are designed to help you easily identify how much and what type of attention a research output has received. You might come across them on publisher article metrics pages, institutional repositories, or even individual researcher or lab publications pages.

Colours of the donut

The amount of each colour in the donut will change depending on which sources a research output has received attention from:

Altmetric Explorer attention score

The number at the centre of the donut is the Altmetric Explorer attention score. This figure is an automatically calculated, weighted count of all of the attention a research output has received. It is based on 3 main factors:

              Volume                               Sources                                   Authors                     

The more posts mentioning an output, the higher its attention score. The algorithm only counts one mention from each person per source.

For example, if you tweet about the same article twice, Altmetric Explorer will ignore everything but the first instance.

Higher profile posts are worth more than lower profile ones in score terms.

For example, a newspaper article contributes more than a blog post which contributes more than a tweet.

Who authored each post is important. Altmetric Explorer looks at how often the author of each mention talks about scholarly articles, at whether or not there’s any bias towards a particular journal or publisher.

For example, a science communicator sharing research to new audiences may carry more weight than a journal tweeting the same link.

You can find more detail about how it’s calculated, including the standard weightings for each mention type, here.

Combined, the attention score represents a weighted approximation of all the attention picked up 
for a research output (not a raw total of the number of mentions). The attention score is useful when looking at several outputs together to quickly identify the level of online activity surrounding a particular research output – it is not a measure of the quality of the research, or the researcher.

From time to time you might notice that the Altmetric Explorer attention score for your paper fluctuates, or goes down. This can happen when the original author of the mentions deletes their post, when posts which have been flagged as spam are removed, or occasionally when Altmetric Explorer adds new sources, so there is need to re-weight the scoring algorithm.

Works Cited

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