Skip to Main Content
Library Guides

Researcher Support Library Services: Altmetrics and Altmetric Explorer

The term altmetrics (or 'alternative metrics') is often used to describe measures which capture attention a research output receives beyond the scope of more traditional metrics such as citation counts and impact factors. Often, these measures focus on impact based on online activity, for example social media mentions, blog posts, and news mentions.

All members of the University have access to Altmetric Explorer. Creating an account will enable you to access additional functions, including saving searches and setting up email alerts.

To sign in or register, visit Altmetric Explorer and use your University email address and password.

1. Sign in to Altmetrics Explorer using your University login.

2. Click on the 'My Institution' symbol on the left hand panel. From here you should be able to find the Altmetric profiles for individual University of Plymouth affiliated authors as well as faculty and school groups.


If you've received mentions in Altmetrics, you can explore these on your profile.

Highlights provides an overview of your mentions statistics, including your top outputs, latest mentions, and overall mentions by country or region.

Research Outputs provides a full list of your outputs that have received mentions. You can click 'sort by' to arrange these in order of publication date or attention score. You can also download these results in csv format by clicking 'Export this tab'.

Timeline lets you view all mentions over time, and filter by specific attention source types. You can select multiple attention sources to view in the chart by holding down the Command key on Mac computers, or the Control key on Windows computers.

Demographics shows you maps of geolocations for four attention sources: Twitter, Facebook, News, and Policy. If you click on the name of a country in the table, or the country itself on the map, you will be taken to the Mentions Tab, where you can view all of the mentions originating from that country in the selected attention source.

Mentions lets you view all the individual mentions across all attention sources, or drill into specific time periods (e.g., to view all mentions that occurred during a particular week). Mentions can be filtered by attention source type, mention outlet or author name, country, and mention time. The Mentions Tab also allows you to surface internationally recognized mainstream news attention in the "Show Highlights Only" option.

Mention sources shows you where your mentions are coming from, e.g. which Twitter accounts are tweeting about your work.

Journals shows a comparison table that displays all the total mention counts for different Altmetric attention sources, aggregated by journal. For example, if you were to run a search query for all research outputs published by a specific journal publisher, then you would see all their journals listed in this table, along with the mention counts for each source..


To get notified when a specific research output is mentioned, navigate to anywhere on your Altmetric profile where you can find your outputs (see guidance above) or search for a specific output in the general search box.

Clicking on the title of an output will take you to its Altmetrics Details Page. On the right hand side of this page, you can click 'Alert me about new mentions' to get an email notification of any new mentions for this specific output.

You can also sign up to receive regular reports of Altmetric attention for a specific set of outputs by setting up an email report.


Altmetrics: uses and limitations

Altmetrics Strengths

Altmetrics Weaknesses

Accumulate more quickly than citation-based metrics As with any research metric, they cannot be used in isolation to tell the 'whole story' of an output
Capture a greater diversity of impact than citation-based metrics, and demonstrate the impact of a wider range of outputs (not just journals and books) Negative attention may lead to a 'higher' altmetric score – information must be placed into context to be meaningful
Can be used in conjunction with other metrics to create a broader and more comprehensive picture of an output's impact Unlikely to be comprehensive – for example, Altmetric only picks up mentions which refer to a unique identifier such as a DOI
Can help to demonstrate impact outside of the academic world As with many quantitative metrics, altmetrics have the potential to be biased, manipulated, or gamed

When using any research metric, including altmetrics, it is imperative to be aware of the issues surrounding their improper use. To find out more about how to use measures of impact in a responsible way, visit our guidance on responsible metrics. is a data science company which tracks where published research is mentioned online.

A research output's Altmetric Attention Score appears as a distinctive 'donut' which is often displayed next to published outputs. Clicking on an Altmetric donut shows you how many times an output was mentioned on different social media and news outlets.

Altemetric also provides Altmetric for Insitutions, which the University of Plymouth subscribes to. Using the Altmetric Explorer, you can monitor the online activity surrounding academic research, set up email alerts for new activity, and create, save, and export reports.

Find out more about how to use it below.

A beginner's guide to altmetrics

Altmetric Resources

Further guidance and reading on Altmetric:

Altmetrics Sample Reports for UoP

The guidance on this page will help you to learn how to create your own custom, shareable Altmetric reportsFind below some sample reports for University of Plymouth research outputs.

Reports automatically update daily – re-download for the most up-to-date information.