Research visibility

What are altmetrics?

Altmetrics measure the the impact of publications (e.g. articles, books) in social media and other social networking services by tracking for example the number of downloads, mentions on news sites, tweets, likes and traditional citations.

Altmetrics help to assess the impact of publications quicker than traditional citation-based metrics. Tweets and mentions on news sites may accumulate very quickly after publication, whereas for citations this may take months, even years.

How to get your publication included in altmetrics data aggregation

To have your publications included in altmetrics data aggregation, they must have a persistent identifier, such as for example:

  • DOI: articles published through various publication channels, also for example data sets
  • ISBN: books
  • URN: various publication types

After you have acquired a persistent identifier for your publication, the next step is to make it visible in a source tracked by altmetrics tools. The image below shows the online services tracked by, which is the most prominent altmetrics aggregator. Of these, the most commonly used services among researchers are for example X and Facebook.

What types of impact do altmerics track?

Altmetrics aggregators track online impact in various databases and online sources. For example, the most famous altmerics service, tracks the following sources:

Sources of Attention in


Track the impact of your publications

The icon of the service

The most prominent altmetrics service is, identifiable by the colourful "doughnut" icon, which is often accompanied by the text "Altmetric". The service is used by countless international publications, which use the attention score provided by to indicate the impact of articles. Here's an example of the information provided by the service.

The Altmetrics doughnut displays the attention received by a publication in two ways:

  1. The score in the centre of the doughnut indicates the amount of attention received by a research output: the greater the number, the more attention the publication has received. The score is based on the attention received by the publication in various social networking services, with each service given a different weighting. For example one mention on a news site is considered eight times more important than one tweet.
  2. The different colours in the doughnut reflect how much each service has contributed to the attention score. For example if the doughnut is mostly light blue, the publication has received most of its attention in Twitter.

The meanings of the different colours in the doughnut and how the attention score is calculated are described in

Plum Analytics service icon and a branch icon used in the service to describe different visibility

PlumX is a little less known altmetrics service, which functions in much the same way as For example Scopus uses PlumX metrics to rate the online impact of articles.

In PlumX each publication is not given an individual score, but the different colours and the sizes of the "branches" in the icon indicate the level of impact in different online services. For example if the blue branch is larger than the others, the publication has received a lot of attention in social media.

The colour codes explained:

  • green: usage, for example clicks or downloads
  • violet: captures, for example bookmarks or favourites
  • yellow: mentions for example in blog posts, news articles etc.
  • blue: social media, for example tweets or likes in Facebook
  • orange: not only citations in traditional citation indexes such as Scopus, but also citations in for example patents.

PlumX metrics are described in more detail on the PlumX website.

Increase the visibility of your publications

The icon of the Impactstory service

Researchers can use the service to share and promote the online impact of their research.

When you register, the service:

  1. finds and imports all the publications in your ORCID profile
  2. aggregates impact data for your publications from several databases and social media services
  3. creates both an overview of the impact metrics of all your publications and shows the metrics for each individual publication

Example profile

The icon of the Kudos service

With the Kudos service researchers can share their most important publications, explain them and track their usage in various databases and in social media

Kudos helps others find your work and understand it

  1. Take 5 minutes to describe your work in plain language - this helps others understand it
  2. Use the Kudos link to share your work via e-mail, social media, academic networks or elsewhere.
  3. Track the citations, downloads and altmetrics of your publication.

More information