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Research Impact

Alternative metrics (Altmetrics)

Altmetrics are indicators of online societal attention and engagement with research, for example:

  • Commentary on social media and coverage in news media 
  • Engagement on researcher platforms
  • Citations in non-scholarly publications (reports, policy documents, Wikipedia)

Altmetrics are useful for helping build a picture of your real-world impact by:

  • discovering who is engaging with your research, for example on twitter
  • tracking real-time views and downloads of publications
  • covering diverse research outputs, for example data sets and software

Other benefits of Altmetrics are that they:

  • are quicker to accumulate than citation based metrics
  • may predict future citations. Eysenbach's research shows that "highly tweeted articles were 11 times more likely to be highly cited than less-tweeted articles."

Doing qualitative analysis alongside altmetrics data provides better evidence of impact.  For example, who is saying what on Twitter.

Altmetric Explorer

Altmetric Explorer tracks the online attention research outputs are receiving. 

  • The attention must include a persistent identifier to the research output, for example a doi or ORCiD.
  • You can search for a specific research output, or for all the outputs of an individual researcher
  • You can also do analysis at School, Faculty or Institution level.
  • The database default is all outputs from AUT - click on Edit search to begin a search and change to Full database if required.

Altmetrics Attention Score

  • An Altmetrics Attention Score is provided for each output in the database
  • The colours in the 'donut' around the score represent data sources, for example, red = news outlets.
  • The Score is weighted and based on: the volume, the source (relative to reach), and the author of the online activity.
  • See How is the Altmetrics Attention Score calculated for more detail.

Altmetric attention page

Individual researcher

  • Click on Edit search and enter researcher's name in the Verified author search box.
  • The Highlights tab shows a summary of attention, and top outputs, journals, affiliations and subject areas

Altmetric Explorer researcher highlights screen

  • Click on the other tabs to analyse specific areas, for example Research Outputs or Mention Sources. Data can be exported.
  • Searches can be saved and reports can be generated from saved searches 


Research Centre, School or Faculty

  • Click on Edit search and name of the research entity into the Verified department search box.
  • Select a Tab, for example look at the Research Outputs tab, and view results as a list to see data including subject area.

Altmetrics explorer school search results research outputs screen

PlumX metrics

PlumX Metrics is a tool that collects and groups metrics in five categories, four of which are Alternative metrics:

  • Usage: clicks, downloads, plays, views
  • Captures: bookmarks, favourites, readers, watchers.
  • Mentions: blog posts, comments, reviews, news media
  • Social media: tweets, shares, comments, likes

 PlumX Metrics categories

Plum X Metrics can be found in Scopus.

 PlumX metrics details


The PLOS website provides alternative metrics for their open access articles e.g. the number of saves, citations, views and shares.

PLOS One metrics

Tuwhera open research

 AUT's Tuwhera research repository for AUT theses and dissertations and research outputs, provides an Alternative metrics and statistics (views and downloads).

Click on See more details to go to Altmetric Explorer and on Statistics > For this item for views and download data.

Tuwhere alternative metrics

In Tuwhera peer-reviewed journals you can also find the number of downloads for articles published in our open access journals.

Tuwhera journal article download graph