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Celia Carver

About the author: Celia Carver is a Senior Product Manager within the Author & Partner Marketing and Services team at Springer.

Dr. Laurencin will be the Kavli Distinguished Lecturer and Plenary Speaker at The Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring 2016 meeting (28-March through 1-April, 2016) in Phoenix, AZ. Additionally, he will be receiving the Society for Biomaterials Founder’s Award at the World Biomaterials Congress (17-22 May, 2016) in Montreal, QC, where the first Cato T. Laurencin Travelling Fellows will also be presented. 

Q:  You’ve launched two very different journals over the last few years very close together in time but quite different in scope (Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine and Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, respectively). What motivated you?

A: In both cases I think that we are in a transformational period for both areas of scientific inquiry. For health disparities, there really isn’t an international publisher of scholarly articles on racial and ethnic health disparities like Springer and health disparities I think will define medicine in the 21st century. For Regenerative Engineering, we feel we are at the dawn of a new field. We anticipate great things.

Q:  What would you say are the most important steps for setting up a journal for launch?

A: First it is setting up a team. Managing editors and other supporting staff are important. Second is a dedicated group of editorial board members who can review papers, and also spread the word about the journal. Third is aggressive advertising by the publisher at meetings and other venues that are important for the journal.

Q:  What are the most common setbacks someone launching a new journal might need to look out for, and how did you manage these in your own experience?

A: I think having the response level that one wishes early on can be an area of setback. There has to be vigilance in promoting the journal by the editor, the staff, and the publisher. At the start of a new journal, one can’t be too comfortable.

Q:  Do you find there are general pros and cons in organizing and launching a new journal?

A: Very few cons except that you have to find a publisher that shares your passion for the subject. We actually turned down other publishers before working with Springer on both journals. We felt that they shared our commitment and passion.

Q:  Going back to your own journals: Was launching a social sciences journal such as Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities very different from the care and launching of a materials science publication such as Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine)? Or were they essentially similar experiences regardless of their core discipline?

A: They are very similar except with a social sciences journal there are early decisions to be made in terms of how quantitative/qualitative the data can be, and how broadly one defines the area.

Q:  How did you attract or acquire content in the early days?

A: We had a lot of discussion with people before the launch, and really directed people to the website at the earliest possible time. The process of promotion of the journal is a continuing one.

Q:  Which milestones would you say each journal has reached, and which milestones are you planning to achieve next?

A: Our first journal (Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities) has just been accepted for listing on Medline. Only 15 percent of journals are accepted on first application. That’s a tremendous accomplishment. We now have a backlog of about two issues in publishing which reflects tremendous interest. We are hoping for the same for our newest journal.

Q:  What factors went into your process of assembling an editorial team of associate editors and advisors?

 A: I picked very smart, dedicated and hard-working people. That is the key to success in any venture.

Q:  Finally, if you could give just one piece of advice to other Editors-in-Chief wishing to launch new journals-what would it be?

 A: Just Do It!

More about Dr. Laurencin: Cato T.  Laurencin, MD, PhD is the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and  Professor of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, as well as Biomedical Engineering at the University of Connecticut.  In addition, UConn named him a University Professor, the 8th in its 130-year history.  He is the founder and director of  the Institute for Regenerative Engineering and the Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences at UConn Health.

Dr. Laurencin earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, his medical degree magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Laurencin is the first orthopaedic surgeon elected to membership in both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest award for technological innovation.

Interested in launching your own Springer journal? Get in touch with one of our editors today.


The team formally kicked off in January 2015 and our first task was to thank our reviewers from 2014 and find out what reviewers actually wanted. We emailed all reviewers who had completed one or more reviews for either a Springer, SpringerOpen or BioMed Central journal in 2014. In the email (sent to over 400,000 reviewers), we thanked each person for their help in reviewing for one or more journals and asked several questions. We wanted feedback on their motivation for reviewing, on their general workload as it pertains to reviewing, the resources they need to get their work done, and of course, feedback on what kind of recognition would be suitable and what rewards would be appealing for their efforts (if any).

We received over 5,000 completed surveys between February 18 and March 2 (our survey time period) with 1,400+ write-in comments. Here’s an overview of what we discovered:

  • Reviewers stressed the importance of modesty in rewards, with  59% strongly agreeing that they choose to do a review based on their expertise and the subject of the paper, not on any expected rewards
  • Reviewers were generally against a points-based system or rewards based on number of reviews and instead preferred being rewarded and recognized based on the quality of the review
  • 43% fully agreed that a stronger recognition of their work could motivate them to do more reviews; many stating that they preferred recognition through signed certificates from Editor(s)-in-Chief, acknowledgement in the journal, and in exceptional cases, being invited to join the Editorial Board
  • As for type of rewards, information or content access (i.e. print or eBooks) was most popular followed by discounts on publishing open access articles and receiving certificates
  • 72% of respondents would like access to see all their current and past review history
  • Many open comments reflected the need for reviewer training as a resource

The written comments themselves were rich with input and sound advice: One reviewer commented “In addition to sending this survey to reviewers, perhaps it would be useful for Springer to also ask for feedback from editors and publishers of journals.”

And so we did that, too, in the form of a communication and survey to all Editor(s)-in-Chief of our Springer, SpringerOpen and BioMed Central-branded journals in late summer of 2015. We’ll report our findings from that survey in due course.

For now, though, we recognize the importance of sharing these initial results.

So I’ll leave it at that, and end on my favorite write-in comment. The one that, when reading and reading (and reading) more than 1,400 comments, brought a smile to my face.

On the topic of rewards, one of our reviewers simply wrote: “Ice cream is always nice.”

To that I add: Yes. Yes it is.

Thank you to all reviewers who have contributed to the peer review process in 2015, and thank you to those who completed our survey and shared valuable comments. We look forward to working with you again in 2016, and to working from within as a company to meet your needs better in the near future.


Robert Faff, University of Queensland, summed up earlier this week why peer review is so important on the Publons blog when he said: “For viability, sustainability and growth in quality scientific outcomes, the system needs many dedicated reviewers.” For us here at Springer and BioMed Central, we couldn’t agree more with how important reviewers are and their involvement in the peer review process. Though we put a lot of work into peer review every week,  a dedicated week such as “Peer Review Week” is especially ideal for expressing what this work involves.

In November 2014, Springer organized an internal virtual team spanning different continents dedicated to building reviewer resources, recognition and rewards (what I call the three Rs of reviewer needs). We  formally came together in January 2015 with a massive e-campaign to over 400,000 Springer, SpringerOpen and BioMed Central reviewers thanking them for their work in 2014. We received feedback on what reviewers would like to see in terms of the aforementioned three Rs.

We’ve made progress collating the findings which will be communicated in the coming months (so watch this space!), but for now, we’ll focus on what we can immediately offer those participating in peer review week, and thereafter…

First up, if you’re new to the very idea of peer review, a couple of resources:

And for those wishing to dive deeper:

We hope you find these resources and posts helpful, and want to give a heartfelt thank you to all reviewers, too. Be sure to subscribe to alerts on the right hand side of this site as we explore more topics in the realm of reviewer resources, recognition and rewards in the upcoming months.

*Originally appeared on the BMC Blog

About this seriesThrough August and September we are publishing a series of posts authored by some of the team at Altmetric, a data science company who provide such attention data to authors, publishers, institutions and funders. The posts will discuss, amongst other topics, using altmetrics within your C.V.s and grant applications, and how journal editors can make use of the tools. Learn more about the series by starting with the first post here. This particular post is the final within our Altmetric series and is authored by guest blogger Catherine Williams.


Challenges in expanding coverage

Taking a look at the Altmetric 2014 Top 100 (our annual compilation that of scholarly outputs that got the most attention online) we can see that over 70% of the list is made up of articles from medicine or science.




There are other influences of this outcome too. As discussed in our blog post last week, the final outputs of many humanities and social science projects are often not journal articles, but perhaps books or other forms of content. Similarly, the way that people refer to those outputs online is very different to the way they discuss a journal article – making it more difficult to collate and correctly identify which research is being discussed (a book is more likely to cover several years worth of work, and therefore people will refer to just the author and their research as whole, rather than a specific output.)

9.24_2In a talk given in London in September 2015, Historian Melodee Beals discussed how altmetrics might apply to humanities scholars. Melodee spoke of her experience of integrating altmetrics into her workflows and trying to encourage her fellow researchers to do the same. Metrics surrounding humanities content have always been harder to gather that than those for scientific outputs, with many outputs often being under-represented. Melodee spoke of the need for good impact to be ‘purposeful’ – meaning that an academic should know what impact they want their work to have, and why, and should embark on the most effective activities to achieve that impact.

She too championed consistent identifiers and a solid infrastructure – highlighting the use of an ORCID ID to help researchers be easily identified and rightly credited for their work.

Looking to the future

Altmetrics can provide valuable insight to scholars on how their work is being received and reused, no matter what their discipline of study. Providing a better indication of the amount and type of attention non-scientific research content is receiving online is a key priority for Altmetric – particularly as scholars in these disciplines increasingly look for better ways to get credit for and evidence the influence and dissemination of their work. We’re already working to introduce better altmetrics for books (collated based on their ISBN) in the near future, and along with that are consulting both our advisory board and amongst the wider community to make sure that the attention data we provide for such content is relevant and timely.

As new forms of online content develop, and humanities and social science scholars in particular find increasingly diverse forms for the research outputs to take, it’ll be crucial for those involved in scholarly communication and evaluation to ensure their methods and sources provide a fair representation, no matter what the subject.

That’s all from Team Altmetric on The Source for now – we hope you’ve enjoyed our guest posts. You can also find us over on our own blog, http://www.altmetric.com/blog/, where we and a variety of guest contributors regularly post on all things altmetrics!

About this seriesThrough August and September we are publishing a series of posts authored by some of the team at Altmetric, a data science company who provide such attention data to authors, publishers, institutions and funders. The posts will discuss, amongst other topics, using altmetrics within your C.V.s and grant applications, and how journal editors can make use of the tools. Learn more about the series by starting with the first post here. This particular post is authored by guest blogger Fran Davies.

Tracking other types of output

In some ways, it was to be expected that altmetrics providers would start offering metrics for journal articles first. Many of Altmetric’s first users were publishers who wanted to be able to view the data for different journals and develop benchmarking strategies according to the scores. Tracking journal articles first also meant that Altmetric could provide data to compliment traditional bibliometric indicators such as the Journal Impact Factor.

However, altmetrics providers and researcher-focused startups are conscious of the need to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the ability to capture online activity surrounding any type of research output, and are continually looking at ways of expanding their coverage beyond journal articles. As mentioned last week, companies such as Figshare have started issuing DOIs for other types of research output, such as conference slidesets, software packages and datasets. This means researchers can now attach unique identifiers to all their research outputs and share all their research online, rather than only being able to promote the articles they’ve published in journals.

For example, this author attached a Figshare DOI to a set of 3D scanned images of dinosaur bones. As the Altmetric details page below shows, the data has been shared in mainstream news outlets, blog posts, on social media and on Youtube. This suggests that if researchers start using services such as Figshare to attach unique identifiers to all their outputs, they can start viewing attention data for all their research, even if they haven’t published it in the traditional way. To view the data for other research outputs on Figshare, download the Altmetric bookmarklet. Researchers may also want to register for an ORCID ID, so they can link between their research outputs and ORCID profile and be sure they are appropriately credited for all of their work.


DOIs are robust, universally recognised and well supported across different systems. Last year, Altmetric collaborated with Springer on the Bookmetrix project. This allowed Springer to view output-level metrics for their book chapters, by tracking the DOI assigned to each chapter. The bookmetrix detail pages included traditional and non-traditional metrics, from download counts and Mendeley readers to review snippets. This project allowed Altmetric to expand their coverage and start viewing metrics for books as well as journal articles.


Tracking different identifiers  

In order to expand their coverage even further, metrics providers need to improve their support for other identifiers. Altmetric currently tracks DOIs, Arxiv IDs, Pubmed IDs, SSRN IDs and Handles. Earlier this year they added support for canonical URLs, which means they can now track online attention for press releases and research outputs that are hosted in repositories, but don’t have a unique identifier attached to them. They also have plans to increase their coverage for books in future.

What does all this mean?

Journal citation counts can take a long time to accumulate, and only indicate article to article referencing. This means it can be difficult for early career researchers to get a sense of the different types of attention their work has attracted from within and outside the academic sphere. One of the advantages of altmetrics data is that researchers from all disciplines and career stages can see who has been sharing and talking about their research.

We hope this post has provided some useful information about the different options available for researchers when sharing their work online, and viewing the data for it. The future holds many exciting opportunities when it comes to tracking multiple types of research output, and altmetrics providers like Altmetric are hoping to continue to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Thanks for reading!

* Bookmetrix example: http://www.bookmetrix.com/detail/book/1db57282-b307-4f47-825a-23e3414834d3#readers

About this seriesThrough August and September we are publishing a series of posts authored by some of the team at Altmetric, a data science company who provide such attention data to authors, publishers, institutions and funders. The posts will discuss, amongst other topics, using altmetrics within your C.V.s and grant applications, and how journal editors can make use of the tools. Learn more about the series by starting with the first post here. This particular post is authored by guest blogger Fran Davies.


Blogs and social media

9.10_1Blogs are a great way to participate in the online conversations happening in your research discipline. You could start by following blogs by academics with similar research interests, and then might like to try it out for yourself – perhaps write a few posts introducing your publications and ongoing projects.

If using WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr, make sure you add the appropriate tags to your blog posts, as this will influence the content that will be recommended to you, and will make it easier for like-minded researchers to find your blog. To reach out to the wider blogging community in your academic discipline, include links to research outputs by other authors in your posts, and join the conversation by commenting on other blog posts.

Using social media platforms such as Twitter means you can engage with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet, and promote your work on a global scale. If you start following blogs by academics with similar interests, it should be fairly easy to identify that blogger on Twitter. Once you’ve started following them, you can reach out to them directly or discover new content by seeing what else they post about. Combining blogging and Twitter activity means you can grow your online network and develop mutually beneficial lines of communication with your peers around the world.

Twitter is also really useful if you’re on the conference circuit. Whether you’re presenting at a conference or just attending out of interest, tweet using the conference hashtag and start following any contacts you made during the day. If you’re presenting, take the opportunity to tweet a link to your research for people to read further (or, if you’re really on top of things, set up a scheduled tweet to be posted as your talk is happening!)

Remember, you can download the free Altmetric bookmarklet to view all the attention data for your published research outputs – click on the donut image to see the details page which will show you who has been talking about your work, and what they’ve been saying.

Share all your research outputs online

One of the advantages of altmetrics is that you can track the online attention for all your research outputs, rather than only understanding the impact of your work through the citation counts for your journal articles. Companies such as figshare have started issuing DOIs for datasets, image files, conference slide-sets and software packages, which means you can start including links to these outputs in your blog posts and on social media, and see those mentions reflected in your altmetrics data. For more details on how Altmetric are starting to track other types of research output, see this blog post.

Talk to your institution

If you want to see how your research is being disseminated to a wider audience, it’s worth getting in touch with the research office or comms team at your institution. If you’ve just published a new article or the results of a large dataset, why not contact them to ask if they would consider featuring it in an interview, press release, newsletter or research highlights email?

Curate a consistent digital identity

It’s important to make your identity clear across different platforms, so that (for example) someone can easily verify your Twitter profile against your blog. You can do this by using the same photo on all your online profiles, and by including links to the different platforms in your posts. Creating an ORCID ID will help ensure that you get credit for the research that belongs to you, and can help make you more easily identifiable (particularly amongst other researchers with the same name, for example).

You could even develop a whole website that includes your blog, CV and Twitter feed, and a section that introduces you and your research interests. You could then link to this site from your posts and your institutional profile. People are more likely to engage and share your work online once they are able to identify and begin to recognise you across platforms.

Finally….how can I make sure my posts are picked up by Altmetric?

  • If you decide to start a blog, make sure you select a platform that attaches working RSS feeds to blogs. Then email Altmetric at support@altmetric.com to tell them about it, so they can start tracking it!
  • Tell Altmetric about any blogs maintained by the press office at your institution.
  • When blogging about your latest published research, make sure you include a link to the research output in the main body of text in the blog post. Altmetric’s page scraping software ignores headers, footers and peripheral page content, so links to research outputs in footnotes will not be picked up.
  • When tweeting about research outputs, include a link to a publication page like this, rather than a link to a PDF.
  • Altmetric don’t pick up Facebook posts from individual timelines; only posts on public facing pages. Why not set up a faculty or lab page to promote the research coming out of your department? Be sure to share the link to the publication page in your posts.
  • Don’t forget – Altmetric also track YouTube! If you’re in the habit of making videos explaining your research, email them so they can start tracking your channel. Make sure you include direct links to the research outputs in the “description” field for each video.

* image of details page from article published in Climatic Change

About this seriesThrough August and September we are publishing a series of posts authored by some of the team at Altmetric, a data science company who provide such attention data to authors, publishers, institutions and funders. The posts will discuss, amongst other topics, using altmetrics within your C.V.s and grant applications, and how journal editors can make use of the tools. Learn more about the series by starting with the first post here. This particular post is authored by guest blogger Catherine Williams.


Use case 1: Including altmetrics data in a grant application to showcase the broader influence and dissemination of your work

Researcher profile: Fernando T Maestre is a Professor in the Biology and Geology Department of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, in Móstoles (Madrid, Spain). Fernando’s research uses a wide variety of tools (field observations and experiments, laboratory work and modeling) and is being carried out at multiple scales, from single-site studies in semiarid ecosystems of Spain to large-scale field studies with sites located all over the world.

Situation: Fernando wanted to better demonstrate the engagement and attention surrounding his work when submitting research proposals, in order to help better demonstrate to potential funders the value and influence of his research. Previously he had mainly included more traditional bibliometrics, citation counts in particular, and he was keen to expand on this to increase his chances of being awarded funding.

The result: Fernando decided to go ahead and include some altmetrics data in two of his research proposals, and also in a prize nomination. As part of the proposals he was required to provide information about a selection of his publications, so once he’d chosen the articles to be included he took a look at their related Altmetric data to see what interesting things he might be able to highlight from that. Crucially, Fernando was careful to not just include numbers with no context:

This study has also been widely discussed in the social media, as indicated by an Altmetric score of 50, which makes it scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries and includes it into the top 5% of all the articles tracked by Altmetric (more than 1,660,000; see http://goo.gl/aNVUUk for details). In addition, this work has been featured by newspapers, magazines, web pages and blogs from around the world (see http://goo.gl/JrJ4EY for a selection of news).”

Altmetric Score_9.3.15_1

Fernando has used the ‘score in context’ information from the summary tab of his details page, and then gone on further to highlight specific mentions from the sources that he considers important – as well as providing a direct link for the reviewers to explore further themselves.

Quote: “I found particularly useful using altmetrics for those papers/research products (such as databases) that have been published recently, as they provide a nice way to showcase the “impact” of research outputs before they start to accrue citations.”

Both of his funding grants and his prize application were successful, and Fernando is keen to continue to use altmetrics data to help tell the story of his research.

Quote: “The capabilities of altmetrics make them a good complement to these more traditional “impact” metrics.”

Use case 2: Using altmetrics to identify new and interesting content

Researcher profile: Professor Terrie Moffitt is the Knut Schmidt Nielsen Professor at Duke University and is part of Duke Psychology and Neuroscience Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Specialising in the interplay between nature and nurture in the development of problematic behaviours, she manages a team of twelve researchers at Duke and is also Associate Director of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development study in New Zealand.

Situation: Part of Terrie’s role at the institution involves lecturing and holding seminars with early-career PhD researchers. She’s always on the look out for new and interesting content to read and share with her groups, and wanted to find a way to more easily identify hot-topic content that her students might not otherwise come across.

The result: Terrie was introduced to the Altmetric Bookmarklet by one of her students, and began exploring the Altmetric data she found via that and the donut badges on publisher sites for the articles in journals she regularly read. She started to compare the different types and volume of attention that each article was receiving, and to pick out items of interest.

Using the Altmetric score as a quick visual summary of the amount of attention an article had seen meant that she didn’t have to click through to each details page, and could instead pick and choose depending on what the visualisations indicated.


Altmetric donuts_9.3.15_2



Further down the line, Terrie spoke to her colleagues in the library and the research office to ask them for access to the Altmetric database, which enables her to browse and compare the attention data for large sets of articles all at once, simplifying the process of identifying articles that have a lot or an unusual type of attention, no matter what journal they are published in.

Quote: “Being able to make their own secondary reading lists from the articles they find will hopefully enhance student motivation.”

Having insight into the additional online activity and engagement around individual publications has also provided Terrie a more interactive way of discussing research engagement with her students and colleagues.

Use case YOU: How do YOU successfully use altmetrics? Let us know in the comments.



About this seriesThrough August and September we are publishing a series of posts authored by some of the team at Altmetric, a data science company who provide such attention data to authors, publishers, institutions and funders. The posts will discuss, amongst other topics, using altmetrics within your C.V.s and grant applications, and how journal editors can make use of the tools. Learn more about the series by starting with the first post here. This particular post is authored by guest blogger Fran Davies. 


See/monitor the online conversations surrounding your published articles

Citation counts and the journal Impact Factor (JIF) are useful ways of seeing how an article has been received in the academic community; altmetrics can be a useful way of seeing how that same article has been received beyond the academic sphere. An Altmetric details page allows you to see who has been talking about an article, what they’ve been saying about it, and where the attention came from. The quickest way to view the full details pages for a Springer article is to install the Altmetric bookmarklet on your bookmarks bar. Simply click the bookmarklet when visiting pages like this.


One of the big advantages of the data is that you can see how conversations around research develop in real time; the majority of the online attention we see for an article is posted in the first couple of weeks after publication. For example, the information on the left hand side of this details page tells us that this article (about the benefits of green tea) has been mentioned in a wide range of sources, including mainstream news sources, blogs, Twitter, Sina Weibo, Youtube and Reddit. The article also has 51 Mendeley readers, which suggests it has proved popular amongst users of academic reference managers, as well as users of general social media platforms. You can click through to the original mentions to read the news stories and blog posts about an article, view the profiles of people who have shared the article on social media, and potentially engage with them.

Using the interactive maps on the Summary Tab, you can view and monitor the global reach of an article. For example, you can see that this article has accumulated Mendeley readers from the US, the UK and Germany. If you wanted to delve even further into this data, you could view counts of the readers by professional status and by discipline (see screenshot below).


Having this real-time insight into how the research published in your journal has been received enables you to more easily and accurately monitor the online dissemination and interpretation of your content, and can be helpful for correcting any misconceptions or misinterpretations, should they occur.

View the data at journal level

The “score in context” data can help you see the attention levels for an article, within the context of the journal it was published in. The contextual data for this article tells you that the article is ranked 6th in a list of all articles with Altmetric scores published in that journal, and that it has the highest score of a list of 15 articles published in that journal at around the same time. You can also see how highly an article has scored in relation to all research outputs with Altmetric scores; this article is in the “top 5% of all articles tracked by Altmetric”. This data can be useful for benchmarking against other journals or within a journal, but it’s worth remembering that the score isn’t a measure of the quality of a paper; it’s simply a weighted count of the amount of attention we’ve picked up for a research output.

Discover new and interesting content and authors

You can use the bookmarklet to view the details pages for publications outside your journal discipline, to try and gauge which research topics get a lot of media attention, and which topics are trending. This data could be useful if you’re looking to expand your list and thinking about which areas to start publishing into. Looking at the headlines of the news stories associated with an article can be useful when determining what information and/or “message” has been extracted from a piece of research, and how that message has been communicated to the general public.

You can also use the social media and blog data to get a better idea of which academic disciplines have active online communities, and to identify high profile authors who you might like to invite to submit an article to your publication.

Use the data to inform promotional strategies

  • If an article from one of the journals you manage has attracted a lot of attention, or attention from an unexpected place, why not include this in an editorial report, or highlight it in a board meeting?
  • If lots of articles from the same journal show (for example) lots of Twitter mentions but little Facebook or Youtube data, if might be worth talking to marketing colleagues about setting up a Facebook page or YouTube channel for that journal, to promote the articles across a wider audience.
  • If you’re launching a new journal, you can use the Altmetric data for existing journals in the same field to work out which online channels you’d like to use to communicate the research, and how to engage the right audience for that content.
  • Why not consider creating some topical online special issues featuring the most popular articles from across your archive based on specific themes? For example, you could time the publication of this to coincide with a national day or an evolving news story.

We hope this post has provided some useful ideas for how journal editors can use the data. As always, feedback and suggestions are welcome. Thanks for reading!


About this seriesThrough August and September we are publishing a series of posts authored by some of the team at Altmetric, a data science company who provide such attention data to authors, publishers, institutions and funders. The posts will discuss, amongst other topics, using altmetrics within your C.V.s and grant applications, and how journal editors can make use of the tools. Learn more about the series by starting with the first post here. This particular post is authored by guest bloggers Cat Chimes and Fran Davies. 


  1. It’s important to understand what the data is showing you. Don’t assume that if your work has been tweeted by 20 people or blogged about 5 times that it’s always for a positive reason – make sure you use something like the Altmetric bookmarklet (available to download here) and details pages to see what the mentions actually say. This will help you see why people are talking about your work and ensure it is being interpreted in the right way.
  2. Decide what attention and indicators of potential impact are most important and relevant to you. For some researchers, where in the world their article is being shared will be really important, whilst others might want to know where it’s been referenced in public policy or commented on by someone influential.
  3. Think about what the shares and discussion around your research really demonstrate – funders and potential employers don’t want to see just numbers, they want you to show them examples of the reach and broader influences of your work, and how it’s achieving them.
  4. Consider pulling out some key quotes or high profile news article snippets to include in your application. In the new NIH biosketch templates, for example, evidence like this would fit well into the ‘contribution to science’ or ‘personal statement’ sections to help draw the bigger picture of your activity and influence as an academic.
  5. Make sure you talk about why an piece of attention you’ve chosen to highlight was important – for example was it coverage amongst a key audience you were hoping would pick up on the work? What were the aims of conducting your research and how did the attention you’ve chosen to highlight help meet these aims?
  6. Talk to your department head or program or grant manager to get a better understanding of the kinds of reporting on broader attention or influence they’d be most interested to see – you never know what they might say!
  7. Bear in mind how your work fits into the bigger picture – all Altmetric details pages offer a ‘score in context’ section to help you understand how the attention your research has received compares to the volume of attention surrounding other articles published around the same time, or in the same journal.
  8. Don’t just report the Altmetric score for your article. The score is designed to be an at-a-glance indicator of the volume and approximate reach of the online discussion relating to a research output – but that alone does not really tell you anything about why the article did (or didn’t) receive a lot of attention, you need to look at what people are actually saying for that.
  9. See if you can ask your interviewers or funding application review committee for feedback on what they thought of the inclusion of that kind of detail (that is, if you’ve included altmetrics data or evidence of online engagement in any of your previous applications); was it useful, how could you make it better?
  10. Reach out to your library or research support office. They deal with questions about assessing and evidencing research impact all the time, and will be able to provide you with some advice and guidance to help you on the right path.

If you take these ideas into account then you’ll be on the right track – and altmetrics can become a powerful and efficient tool in not only tracking and monitoring the online attention surrounding your work, but also in using that as evidence in funding applications to better demonstrate the value of your research and increase your chances of success.


About this seriesThrough August and September we are publishing a series of posts authored by some of the team at Altmetric, a data science company who provide such attention data to authors, publishers, institutions and funders. The posts will discuss, amongst other topics, using altmetrics within your C.V.s and grant applications, and how journal editors can make use of the tools. Learn more about the series by starting with the first post here. This particular post is authored by guest bloggers Cat Chimes and Fran Davies. 


What data do Altmetric provide?

Altmetric provide data for researchers, publishers, universities and funders. We track a wide variety of non-traditional sources, including mainstream news outlets, public policy documents, online reference managers, blogs, social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Sina Weibo, research highlight platforms, post-publication peer-review forums, and Wikipedia, looking for mentions and shares of published research.

A full list of our sources can be found here. All of the attention data we collate from this carefully curated list of sources is then disambiguated for each piece of research (sometimes the same article is hosted many places) and displayed on our colourful details pages (see below).

Attention at a glance

For each research output we assign a score of attention and create a unique donut visualisation in order to provide an easy-to-read summary of the online attention it has received.

The score is derived from an algorithm, and represents a weighted count of all the attention data we’ve picked up for that research output. For more detailed information about the score and how it’s calculated, please see this blog post. It’s important to remember that the score is only an indicator of the amount of attention a research output has received. It can’t tell you anything about the quality of the research output, or the researcher, and you need to click through to the original mentions on the details page to understand why a particular piece of research has got a lot of attention.

The Altmetric donut, which can be found on the articles pages of many publisher sites, including SpringerLink, changes colour depending on the sources we have picked up attention for the research from:

Altmetric Donut

So, for example, if the donut is mostly light blue it probably means we have seen a lot of Twitter or LinkedIn attention for that research. Lots of red would indicate a high percentage of mainstream media coverage, and a purple or grey streak would indicate mentions in public policy documents and on Wikipedia.

Who, What, Where….

The details pages are visual representations of who has been sharing and discussing a piece of research, what they’ve been saying about it, and where that data came from. Accessible via the colourful donut visualisation displayed on many publisher and institutional repository sites, you can click on the tabs on the details pages to filter the data by source, and click through to the original mentions.

For example, we can see that this research output has been mentioned in news outlets, blogs, on social media, and in a policy document.

Research Output


The maps on the summary tab of each details page can also give you a geographical breakdown of Twitter and Mendeley readers who have shared or saved the work – simply hover over a country to see how much of the attention from these sources came from that location. We also text mine people’s Twitter bios to determine how much of the Twitter attention for a research output is from the academic community, and how much is from members of the general public – you can find this in the demographic breakdown section.

Map Breakdown


Contextualising the Data

Sometimes the score can seem a little like an arbitrary number, so it’s useful to be able to contextualise the data. Looking at the “score in context” section on the summary tab of the details page will tell you how highly the research output has scored in relation to all the research outputs tracked by Altmetric. You can also see how highly the research output has scored in the context of the journal it was published in, and in comparison to other outputs that were published at around the same time. This data is useful for benchmarking and “normalising” the data as well as for finding anomalies. This research output has done particularly well and is the highest-scoring Altmetric article from the European Journal of Nutrition.

Altmetric Score


We hope this post has provided a brief but informative introduction to altmetrics, and Altmetric. Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing some more posts on the different use cases for Altmetric data, and on the ever-changing landscape of altmetrics in general. The best way to get started with Altmetric data is to download the free bookmarklet, or click on the Altmetric donuts when you see them on publisher platforms.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you – coming up in our next post we’ll be providing some tips and tricks on using altmetrics data in your CV and grant applications, so stay tuned!