How it works

Fully auditable, real-time updates of the online activity surrounding published research

Tracking and collating attention

 Since early 2012 we’ve been monitoring a range of non-traditional sources, searching for links and references to published research. Today the Altmetric database contains 191 million mentions of over 35 million research outputs (including journal articles, datasets, images, white papers, reports and more), and is constantly growing.

To be able to track the online attention for a specific piece of research, there are 3 things we need:

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Once we’ve picked up a mention of the research, we collate it together with any other online attention we’ve seen for that item and display it via the Altmetric details page, along with it’s own unique donut and automatically calculated Altmetric Attention Score.

You can find more information on the sources we monitor here.

Types of identifiers we track as standard

The unique identifier is really important for us to be able to match the attention to the research – otherwise we don’t know which mentions belong to which research. Identifiers our system is designed to automatically recognize extend far beyond journal articles, and include:

  • PubMedID – typically associated with health sciences research
  • arXiv ID – Physics, Mathematics & Computer Sciences
  • ADS ID – Astrophysics data system
  • SSRN ID – Social Sciences outputs
  • RePEC ID – economics research
  • identifiers – often used in institutional repositories
  • URN (Uniform Resource Name) identifiers
  • ISBNs – books hosted on publisher domains and google books
  • DOIs – assigned to individual articles at the point of publication, and by platforms such as figshare and Dryad to other outputs (including datasets, images, and more)

One output: many versions – disambiguation

These identifiers also help us to recognize different versions of the same research output. For example, a journal article might be originally made available on a publisher platform and given a DOI, and then later hosted on PubMed or an institutional repository and given another unique identifier there.

Our system cross-checks these to match them together, ensuring that the details page always displays a collated record of attention for all versions of the research item.

Not got a scholarly identifier?

Don’t worry – we also have the technology to track items by their unique Uniform Research Identifier (for example, a URL is a type of URI). This requires custom work from our developers and we invite you to get in touch if this is of interest.

So far we’ve worked with institutions, funders, think-tanks and publishers to track attention to their press releases, grey literature and company reports, and there’s scope for much more! You can see an example of this type of tracking on the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s online platform.

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Got identifiers but worried we’re not picking up mentions to your content?

Please let us know – the domain where it’s hosted may not yet be on our whitelist (all of the major publishers and platforms are), or it may be a small issue with the metadata of the page.


Want to find out more?

Our team would be happy to discuss any questions you might have, or work with you to find the solution that best fits your needs. Please fill in the form below and we will be in touch as soon as possible.