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Measure online attention: Altmetric Explorer

Altmetric Explorer is an online platform that aims to capture the attention that your scientific work gets in, and especially outside of the academic world. The platform is able to trace the internet for mentions of scholarly output in for example social media, policies, patents and newspapers. To determine the reach and impact of your work this information can be a valuable addition to traditional metrics such as citation count, Impact Factor of a journal or your H-Index. Click on the tabs below to get the most out of Altmetric Explorer in a few easy steps!

Starting out with Altmetric Explorer
  1. Go to www.altmetric.com and click on ‘explorer login’ in the op right corner
  2. Login using your UT email address and password
  3. On the main page, click on ‘edit search’ in the white top bar of the screen
  4. Check the ‘full altmetric database’ option in the top right corner
  5. To retrieve your own publications, type your name in the ‘verified author’ field and click on the correct suggestion that pops up. To retrieve your research groups’ publications, type the groups’ name in the ‘verified department’ field and click on the correct suggestion that pops up. To retrieve publications of non-UT researchers, type their name in the ‘keywords’ section. For other types of searches hover over the ‘what is this?’ text next to each text field to explore the options
  6. Click on ‘run search’. Be aware of the fact that Altmetric Explorer only shows outputs that have received attention (see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’)
Set an email alert for mentions of your work
  1. Perform a search (see ‘Starting out with Altmetric Explorer’) to retrieve a set of research outputs
  2. After running the search, click on ‘save search’ in the top right corner
  3. Click on the ‘saved searches’ icon in the bar on the left side of the screen (hover over it to see the icon title)
  4. On the page that shows your saved searches, choose if you want to receive a daily, weekly or monthly email with an overview of mentions of your work
  5. Click on the arrow-shaped button to send a test email to yourself to be sure you will receive alerts
Explore and analyze mentions of your work
  1. Perform a search (see ‘Starting out with Altmetric Explorer’) to retrieve a set of research outputs
  2. Explore the data about this set of research outputs displayed under each tab:  

Highlights: Here you can quickly view some rankings, such as the dominant types of attention for these research outputs and the most mentioned outputs within your search results.

Research Outputs: Here you can find the full list of research outputs resulting from your search. Click on the drop-down menu next to ‘sorted by’ to sort and select records according to your preference. To see which records got most attention recently choose ‘number of mentions in the last …’  

Timeline: Here you can get a quick overview of the attention the set of research outputs received over time. Zoom in to for example May 2014 using the handles on each side of the slider below the timeline. Select options above the timeline to narrow down to attention from (multiple) types of sources, such as Twitter or a blog. Click on one of the staves in the timeline to learn about te specific mentions during that period (see ‘Mentions’)

Demographics: Here you can view the distribution of attention for the set of research outputs among countries all around the world. Choose the type of attention you are interested in by selecting one of the tabs above the map. Click on a country on the map or in the table on the left to learn about the specific mentions from that country (see ‘Mentions’)

Mentions: Here you can review all the mentions of the set of research outputs in chronological order, starting with the most recent mentions. To review mentions from a specific source, choose a type of source (such as a blog or news outlet) from the drop-down menu that appears when you hover over the ‘add source’ text, or enter your preferred source (such as CNN or overheid.nl) in search bar next to it. Below this bar you can narrow your scope by selecting a time period and/or country that the mention originates from, for example mentions in June 2017 from Brazil. 

Journals: Here you can see the list of journals in which the research outputs were published. Review mentions for a specific journal by typing the journal name in the search bar in the top left corner of the table. Sort the list of journals by mentions from a specific source by clicking on one of the categories in the top row of the table.

Practical applications for researchers

Grant applications: Improve the ‘societal impact’ section of grant applications, by referring to for example news articles, policies or patents that mention your work.

Generating attention: experiment with sharing your work in various ways, and set a weekly or monthly email alert about online mentions to review the effects of your sharing activities. Is your research picked up by a specific audience, or in a specific region?

Learning from others: compare the mentions of your, or your groups’ work with that of other researchers and groups. Do they have more mentions? Can you learn from them?

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s inside the database?
Altmetric creates records for an item once a scholarly identifier or  a link (or a reference that can be linked to a scholarly output) is discovered being ‘mentioned’ in a source of attention, such as Twitter or CNN. Altmetric identifies the DOI, visits the publications page and then creates the record based on the metadata on that site. Consequently records which are not ‘mentioned’ ever do not have a record in Altmetric Explorer. Some records are indexed in Altmetric Explorer, but seem to have not mentions. This is because some types of mentions are not displayed in the ‘donut’ next to that record (see ‘what do the colored ‘donuts’ represent?’)

What do the colored ‘donuts’ represent?
The ‘donuts’ or badges that can be found in Altmetric Explorer and the repository of the University of Twente consist of a combination of colors and a number. The colors indicate the types of sources of attention in which a record is mentioned, such Twitter (blue) a news outlet (red) or a blog (yellow). The number shown in the middle indicates the amount of attention a record has received (the ‘attention score’). It represents a weighted total of mentions, calculated using weightings such as Twitter (1), a policy document (3), a blog (5) and a news outlet (8).  

Why Altmetric Explorer?
Various companies are experimenting with alternative metrics to measure the impact of scientific work outside the academic world. Besides Altmetric, examples are PLOS (limited to PLOS publications), PlumX (provided by Elsevier) and ImpactStory (open source). Currently, Altmetric is the provider with the best coverage of blog posts, news and tweets according to this research. On top, it is the only platform that offers a refined search engine and transparent infographics to display the data.