Editors  >  Monitoring Journal Performance  >  Alternative Metrics

Overview of Alternative Metrics

In recent years, metrics that apply to different aspects of publication behavior have developed. Examples include:

  • Mendeley readers
  • Social Media - Tweets, Facebook 'likes', blog mentions.
  • Bookmarks - Online bookmarks imply that people are going back to consult the article again and again.
  • Usage metrics - How the users interact with the articles online.

However, as with citation metrics, each unit of measurement has its own complexities. No one metric can be taken as a sign of 'quality'.

Alternative Metrics vs Citations

Advantages Disadvantages
They give us an insight into public impact, rahter than just scholarly attention.

They're quicker to accumulate – sometimes they even predict future citations.

They can be used to track the attention for non-traditional research outputs.
They can't tell us anything about the quality of the research.

It's almost impossible to keep track of everything everyone's doing online, so the picture is almost always incomplete.

The truth is, you need both kinds of metrics to get the full picture of research impact.

A majority of research doesn't have attention online - and that's OK. It's likely just not being discussed on the sites that altmetrics aggregators track, like more than 80% of other research online.

More information on the theory behind alternative metrics, is available at http://www.altmetrics.org.


The Altmetric service is available to all journals on Wiley Online Library and allows you to:

  • Freely track online activity and discussions about individual scholarly papers from social media sources, including Twitter, Facebook and blogs, the mainstream media and online reference managers such as Mendeley and CiteULike.
  • See the attention that articles receive in real-time - score is open for everyone to see, follow, and understand.

For more information, visit our Altmetric page on Wiley Online Library.

PLEASE NOTE: "Altmetrics" are not the same thing as "Altmetric."

Altmetrics (aka Alternative Metrics) is a type of data that helps people understand how scholarship is discussed online.

Altmetric (aka Altmetric.com) is one of several services that report on altmetrics.