Home » Altmetrics » Altmetrics as a complement, not replacement.

Altmetrics as a complement, not replacement.


We’ve long said that altmetrics should be a complement to, not a replacement for, citation-based metrics and expert peer-review. So it was heartening to see that same sentiment echoed in The Metrics Tide report (“Metrics should support, not supplant, expert judgement”).

Altmetrics, by and large and like citation-based metrics, cannot tell us much about research quality (though many people often assume they’re intended to). They do have some distinct advantages over citation-based metrics, however.

Altmetrics are faster to accumulate than citations, so it’s possible to get a sense of an article’s potential reach and influence even it was only recently published. (This is useful in an exercise like the REF, where you might be compiling impact evidence that includes articles only published in the previous year – or even month) Altmetrics are also much more diverse than citations, in that they can measure research attention, help flag up routes to impact, and (occasionally, looking at some sources) quality among scholars and also members of the public, practitioners, policy makers, and other stakeholder audiences. Read …


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