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Altmetrics: What is it?

Altmetrics is the use of alternative, or nontraditional, measurements to better understand the extent of a work's scholarly impact. According to the altmetrics: a manifesto, "Altmetrics expand our view of what impact looks like, but also of what’s making the impact. This matters because expressions of scholarship are becoming more diverse."

Altmetrics serve as a complement to traditional metrics (e.g., citation counts) by incorporating statistics regarding usage, capture, and mentions of scholarly works in online environments. Examples of alternative metrics include number of clicks, views, and downloads, as well as social media mentions and news coverage

Librarians can help you navigate the world of scholarly impact! Please don't hesitate to reach out to your subject librarian.

Altmetrics: How does it work?

Depending on the product (e.g.,, PlumX), altmetrics are gathered using unique identifiers. These tend to be DOIs (, but are sometimes ISBNs and URLs (PlumX). provides free tools to researchers with basic capabilities, while costs are associated with enhanced features. PlumX has costs associated with all features.

Altmetrics at UMaine

Digital Commons@UMaine Institutional Repository

DigitalCommons@UMaine provides access to the scholarly, educational, and creative works of the University of Maine community. Metrics available in the Digital Commons include download statistics and an score (for items with DOIs). See more about in the box below. Digital Commons also includes PlumX metrics (which covers many social media applications, but not X, formerly named Twitter), another alternative metric company.



IEEE Explore
Click on the abstract or title to see the altmetric score on the bottom right of the page.

SpringerLink Ebooks
Search for a book, and view the Book Metrics below the book title.


Free tools from tracks a range of online sources that capture the social life of a researcher's scholarly activity. is a commercial product that offers a free bookmarklet and is embedded in a variety of library databases.

Metrics Toolkit

The Metrics Toolkit was launched in January 2018, from "a group of information professionals who are passionate about using the best possible evidence for research evaluation."

The Metrics Toolkit is "a resource built to help researchers and evaluators navigate the ever-changing research metrics landscape.The Metrics Toolkit includes 27 expert-written, time-saving summaries for the most popular research metrics including the Journal Impact Factor and Altmetric Attention Score."

Also included is an app that can recommend discipline-specific metrics based on your specific use cases.

Altmetrics Further Explained

Personalized Altmetric Researcher Profiles


ResearchGate is a social networking platform where scholars can share research outputs, ask and answer questions, and identify potential collaborators. The contributions made to ResearchGate (e.g., uploaded publications and/or data, questions you ask and answer), the interactions people have with your work on the site, and the reputation of the people interacting with your work make up your RG score. Additional information on the RG Score can be found here, and on their h-index here.


Impactstory is an open-source, web-based tool you can download from Github that helps scientists explore and share the diverse impacts of all their research products—from traditional ones like journal articles, to emerging products like blog posts, datasets, and software. Alternatively, you can sign up for an account and use the Impactstory platform to create an altmetric researcher profile.

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