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“Alternative metrics” or “altmetrics” refers to different ways of measuring the use of, and impact of, scholarship. Rather than solely measuring the number of times a work is cited in scholarly literature, alternative metrics also measure and analyze social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogs, wikis, etc.) to provide a more comprehensive measurement of scholarship’s reach and impact.

Altmetrics attempts to measure scholarly impact by looking beyond conventional citation counts in hopes of capturing a more complete picture of scholarly impact through the incorporation of use metrics from more recent avenues of scholarly communication. In addition to looking at these new modes of scholarly transmission, altmetrics also aims to garner more timely usage data that aspires to allow for real-time reporting of scholarly impact.

Combined with bibliometrics, altmetrics aims to provide a fuller picture of impact by incorporating social media into the mix. (Luther, 2012)*
Altmetrics doesn’t seek to replace conventional bibliometrics, but rather, endeavors to generate more timely and complete pictures of scholarly impact that can help researchers to better focus their efforts on avenues that are garnering the most interest, and ultimately, the greatest impact for their work.


*Luther, J. (2012, 7 25). Altmetrics- trying to fill the gap. Retrieved 10 3, 2012, from The Scholarly Kitchen: