Alternative metrics: ALM

Author Rafael RepisoTranslation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion


What are the Almetrics? They are metrics to measure the scientific activity, which origin is the register of information in digital platforms. Therefore, the first almetrics begin with Internet (number of views and downloads) and develop specially with the apparition of social and academic platforms in the context of the Web 2.0.

Which are the main metrics used nowadays?

The alternative metrics increase in the same way that appears web services that register and spread scientific works. In a recent article, Daniel Torres-Salinas, Álvaro Cabezas and Evaristo Jiménez (2013) proposed a classification of the main almetrics indicators:


We see how the altmetrics are not other thing that an exploitation of the register of information that the scientific articles let in different web platforms.

What should we take into account when interpreting some of the multiple alternative metrics?

The Altmetrics should be studied according to several aspects:

  1. Meaning. What does the indicator mean? What does it mean that an article has a retweet or share for Facebook? A basic problem is that people believes that Altmetrics substitute to the deified Impact Factor, but in fact, the greatest majority are not impact indicators, they contribute information, but over other dimensions.
  2. Diffussion. The greatest part of the Altmetrics tells us about the presence and prevalence in a digital context (Twitter, Facebook, Mendeley, Blogs, etc.). We can say that in general terms the Altmetrics tell about diffusion. The key is to distinguish what is a good or bad diffusion. To have 5 tweets is a good diffusion?
  3. Effort and strength of the indicator. Other basic aspect to evaluate altmetrics is the effort that costs to make registers. Moreover, we should think if there exists other type of filter that regulates its production. For example, to create a tweet about an article is easy and nobody can avoid it. While citing an article is complicated because first you have to make a work since which citing it and second publishing it with the natural filters. It is for that reason that many altmetrics are especially easy to manipulate. Does it have sense to regulate us?

In short the Altmetrics are new indicators that contribute information about different dimensions, which we did not have a way to measure.

Torres, D., Cabezas, Á., & Jiménez, E. (2013). Altmetrics: new indicators for scientific communication in Web 2.0. Comunicar, 21 (41).

About Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

Erika Lucía González Carrión nació en Loja-Ecuador el 29 de marzo de 1994. Posee una licenciatura en Comunicación Social por la Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL) y además una licenciatura en Ciencias de la Educación con mención en Idioma Inglés por la Universidad Nacional de Loja (UNL). En la actulidad cursa el Máster Internacional en Comunicación y Educación Audiovisual, promovido por la Universidad Internacional de Andalucía y la Universidad de Huelva. Además, cuenta con una certificación internacional de conocimiento del Idioma Inglés, dentro del Marco Común Europeo de las Lenguas. Dentro del ámbito de la Comunicación Social investiga el área radiofónica y realiza traducciones de artículos científicos. Erika Lucía González Carrión was born in Loja-Ecuador on March 29th, 1994. She got her bachelor’s degree in Social Communication at Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL) and additionally she got a bachelor’s degree in Sciences of Education, English Language Specialization at Universidad Nacional de Loja (UNL). Nowadays she is studying the Master degree in Communication and Audiovisual Education, promoted by the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía and the Universidad de Huelva . Moreover, she has an international certification of knowledge in the English Language, within the Common European Framework of the Languages. In the Social Communication field she investigates the radio and makes translations of scientific articles.
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