May 23, 2016


Librarians worldwide have begun to make use of altmetrics in the following ways:

  • To evaluate materials during the collection development process;
  • To showcase the value of their Open Access university repositories; and
  • To make a case for the value of their own research activities, particularly ones that are not documented in journal articles.

Here are some specific examples of how libraries have used altmetrics to date.

Collection Development: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

At ER&L 2016, librarians from the Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine explained how they use Altmetric Explorer data for collection development.

Journal-level usage statistics (usually provided by COUNTER-compliant publishers) and cost-per-use (a metric generated in-house, using Icahn School of Medicine purchasing data) are examined alongside aggregated, journal-level Altmetric scores to understand how different types of resources garner different types of attention, and thus may each have differing values to an organization like a medical school.

Moving forward, the team is very interested in combining disparate data types into a single, weighted indicator that allows them to accurately evaluate different types of publications (for example, the Pediatric Care Newsletter and the American Journal of Pediatric Care) at a glance.

Institutional Repositories: hundreds worldwide (and counting!)

Since the launch of Altmetric badges for institutional repositories, hundreds of IRs have begun using altmetrics as a means of understanding the value of their services. PlumX Metrics “plum prints” also provide altmetrics data (for subscribers).

Altmetrics data can be used in IRs for benchmarking, to support faculty impact reporting, and to document the value of open access research to various stakeholders. For more information, check out “New opportunities for repositories in the age of altmetrics”.

Tenure: Heather Coates, IUPUI

Heather Coates is a tenure-track digital scholarship and data services librarian at IUPUI. In her tenure dossier, she documented the influence of her work using altmetrics for both her publications and presentations. Heather has graciously shared her tenure dossier openly on Figshare so others can learn from her example; metrics are shared in the well-crafted narrative in section 8.