Altmetric Blog

New Altmetric partnership with ISSI makes it easy (and free!) for researchers to study the science of science

Stacy Konkiel, 3rd September 2019

Research is key to mastering the grand challenges that society faces, from climate change to curing cancer. Using evidence to make policy and assess short- and long-term implications of research require both expertise and resources. Scientometric research is critical to understand the complex research ecosystem, but this requires that scientometricians have the available information and tools to conduct this research.

In order to make advances in the field of scientometrics, it’s obvious that researchers should have easy, direct access to:

  • A diverse set of research information—not only publications and citations, but also grants, patents, clinical trials and policy documents that mirror the complexity of research activities.
  • Linked data, which preferably enables large scale computational analysis with as few constraints as possible.
  • A range of data points and indicators that can help them make the dissemination and influence of research within and beyond the academic sphere visible and understood

Currently, researchers face substantial challenges in gathering the data they need. Licensing restrictions, siloed data, the cost of access and limitations in the sources from which to get these data all present blockers to innovation which have no place in our increasingly open scholarly ecosystem. 

That’s why the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) and Digital Science have joined forces to make Dimensions and Altmetric data available to ISSI members at scale, and at no cost for scientometric research purposes. 

ISSI is an international association of scholars and professionals active in the interdisciplinary study of the science of science, science communication, and science policy. The ISSI community focuses on quantitative approaches to the study of science, including informetrics, scientometrics, and webometrics. 

ISSI president Cassidy Sugimoto says, “Equity, transparency, and rigor should be the cornerstones of contemporary research. This partnership provides all of our members with access to high-quality data, enhances replicability and reproducibility within the field, and provides an extremely rich dataset for analyses. I’m delighted to join in this partnership which will bring strong benefits to members of our Society and to the field at large.”

Researchers have long studied Altmetric data to understand how research is communicated, and in 2015 Altmetric launched the Researcher Data Access Program to make it even easier for researchers worldwide to study altmetrics.

To date, Altmetric has tracked engagement with over 13 million research outputs across 17 distinct data sources, creating the largest set of auditable altmetrics currently available.

Previous studies that have been conducted with Altmetric’s data include:

The collaboration with ISSI gives members access to the entire Altmetric database via Altmetric Explorer and the Altmetric Details Page API, for use in noncommercial scientometric research. ISSI members can also apply for no-cost access to Dimensions data and tools to expand their analyses.

Though Altmetric and Dimensions data are both already available to all researchers regardless of affiliation with ISSI, we are pleased that this new partnership will offer greater access to a more diverse cohort of researchers in the years ahead. It will also put the gatekeeping process back in the hands of the community.

Starting October 1, ISSI members will officially be invited to apply for no-cost access to Altmetric tools and data. In turn, select ISSI members will provide expert assessment on researchers’ applications and guidance on using Altmetric in their research.

We’re announcing our partnership now, to coincide with the biannual ISSI conference, so we can connect directly with the community to promote the partnership (please get in touch if you’d like to meet while in Rome!). From now until October 1, we’ll be working closely with ISSI to ensure we can offer an easy, seamless, no-fuss experience for those who apply. 

If you can’t wait until October to get started, you can apply today to use Altmetric data in your own non-commercial research projects. Simply fill out this form to apply, or contact us at with any questions you may have. 

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