Altmetrics: Alternatives to Traditional Bibliometrics Tools


The internet, social media, and Open Access offer completely new possibilities to judge a publication's resonance. Aside from quantitative indicators scientific reputation should preferably be measured on the basis of qualitative feedback.


Alternatives to Classic Bibliometrics

Usage Statistics

Usage statistics make it possible to evaluate individual publications based on their concrete and individual use. They show how often a publication was accessed or downloaded. Recommendation services and relevance criteria can be created based on these usage patterns. Particular mention should be given to the project Open Access Statistics in this field.


A completely new approach is taken by the developers of Altmetric. They determine how often an article is discussed in social media. The following are included in the evalutions:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • News Outlet
  • Blogs
  • Mendeley
  • Connotea
  • CiteULike

RG Score

The RG score is the metric of the social network ResearchGate. All articles that have been entered (including raw data) are taken into consideration as well as scientists' behavior within the network. A complex reputation matrix results. For example, it matters how many questions a user asked and how many answers a user gives to other questions. If other users focus a lot on your work, this is taken into consideration and increases the reputation. Evaluations from users with a high RG score have a greater influence than those from users with a lower RG score.


ImpactStory is a web-based open source tool, that takes both classic forms of publication and newer forms like blogs or software into consideration in order to determine a person's impact. The breadth of this database is very large and comprehensive:

  • PLoS
  • Scopus
  • PubMed
  • Mendeley
  • Twitter
  • SlideShare
  • and many others

PLoS Article-Level Metrics

PLoS Article-Level Metrics is a metric for articles on the renowned publication platform PLoS (Public Library of Science). Different aspects are bundled and taken into consideration:

  • Usage (clicks and downloads)
  • Citations (from PubMed, CrossRef, Web of Science, and Scopus)
  • Social networks
  • Resonance on the PLoS platform
  • Reference in blogs and media (for example ScienceSeeker and Wikipedia)