Putting Altmetric data to use: an introduction for journal editors
evaluation has been increasingly discussed amongst researchers, funders
and those in academic institutions. At the same time, publishers have
been quick to add this data to their platforms, in many cases by means of embedding the Altmetric donut badge you may have come across on some of the journals you read.
So what does the evolution of these new metrics mean for academic
journal editors, and how can they ensure that their publication benefits
from their application? Read this guest post from Altmetric for some
ideas for how journal editors can put that data to use. And then, get
insider insights from other editors, who told us how they’re using the
data to benefit their journal.
What does the data show?Altmetric tracks where individual research outputs are discussed
online in a variety of non-traditional sources, including in public
policy documents, mainstream and social media, academic forums, and
other sites such as Wikipedia and The Conversation. All of these
‘mentions’ are gathered together and compiled into what we call the
‘details page’; the collated record of attention for an individual
On journals with the Altmetric donut badges embedded in their article
pages (this is available on all journals on Taylor & Francis
Online, for articles published since 2012), readers and authors can
click on the donut to be taken to the details page for that output –
where they can explore all of the original mentions of that research,
and click through to the original sources where the mentions were made.
How are these data collected?With hundreds of unique policy, media and blog sources, Altmetric
scans a huge list of sites in real time looking for links to domains
that are on our whitelist (such as a journal publisher domain).
We follow these links to determine which piece of research the
mention refers to, and match that up based on the identifier we find on
the resulting page (the identifier might be a DOI, a PubMed ID, SSRN ID,
or even just the unique URL of the page).
This tracking happens in real time, meaning as soon as an article is
published we begin to pick up any mentions, and new mentions appear on
the details page shortly after they’ve been made.
How can my journal benefit from this?Altmetrics offer lots of opportunities for journal editors and their
teams. Here are some of the key ways we’d suggest you might get started
with the altmetrics data for your publication:
- Identify what’s getting attention, and why. The
Altmetric details page show you all of the original mentions for an
article, so from any given issue you can see which articles have
attracted the most attention, and where it came from.
- Determine your approach to outreach and engagement.
Do you have content you’d like to make more visible? Take a look at the
altmetrics for competitor titles and see what’s working for them – a
great starting point for building your own outreach strategy!
- Measure the effects of your efforts! You might find
that Tweeting at a particular time of day produces more retweets, or
that being featured by a particular blogger draws a lot of attention
that an article wouldn’t otherwise get. Figure out what success looks
like, and focus your activities on building relationships with those
- Ensure your content is being interpreted correctly.
Being able to see (via the details pages) who is saying what about the
articles you publish, as soon as they’re available online, means you can
keep an eye on the conversation and respond to any misunderstandings or
misinterpretations in a much more immediate way.
- Use altmetrics insights to inform your future content strategy.
Not all research is going to receive large amounts of attention online,
and there will be lots of different reasons for that. Along with
downloads and citation counts, altmetrics can be a powerful tool for
informing future editorial strategy – particularly in determining what
audiences are currently reaching (or trying to reach) your articles.
- Celebrate your successes! The transparency and
timeliness of altmetrics offers a great advantage for identifying the
articles that really have an impact amongst a wider audience, enabling
you to further demonstrate the value of your content to authors,
editorial boards and other stakeholders.
Discover how Taylor & Francis journal editors are using these metricsRead our posts from editors:
Cat Chimes, Head of Marketing, Altmetric
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Putting Altmetric data to use: an introduction for journal editors | Editor Resources