Unlike the majority of our blog posts which are intended to tell you about new and existing things happening at Altmetric, the purpose of this post is actually just to tell you that something has not changed.

You may have seen a blog post by Kent Anderson last week which indicated that Altmetric has changed the way we score Twitter as part of the Altmetric Attention Score. This is incorrect. We have not changed the Altmetric scoring algorithm. What we have done recently is update our documentation. Like everyone, we do this from time to time whenever we feel we can provide users with better clarity about what we do.  

Unfortunately, we are unable to post a clarifying comment directly on the original blog (only paying subscribers can comment). We hope this post clarifies the situation and eases the confusion caused by the erroneous information in the post.

Twitter weighting and the Altmetric Attention Score 

When he contacted us, our Customer Support Manager correctly informed Kent Anderson that we have made no updates to the Twitter score contributions. As mentioned above, we have refined our support documentation so that it reflects more accurately the average weighting that drives the Altmetric Attention Scores. 

For clarity, we take a number of factors into account in determining the weighting of a single tweet.  These factors include whether the Tweeter has shared that research output before and also how often they have Tweeted any output hosted on the same domain within a given period. The single tweet weightings range from 0.25 to just over 1, with the most common weighting actually being 0.25 – hence the update to the documentation to amend the Twitter scoring from 1 to the more common 0.25.

We are the first to admit that scoring is complex – both technically and intellectually. I highly recommend reading one of Euan’s early posts, ‘Gaming altmetrics’, which does a great job of explaining some of the thinking that went into establishing the Altmetric Attention Score algorithm.   

The important concept to remember is that the Altmetric Attention Score is designed as an indicator to help users identify where there is activity to explore, and to help them easily see how the volume of that activity compares between research outputs.  We have always, and continue to, emphasize the importance of scrutinising the underlying data rather than taking the score as an indicator of the value or quality of any research output. 

I hope this helps clarify any queries you may have about this topic but please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you have any more questions.

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