Altmetric Blog

Discover the attention surrounding URNs: support for a new identifier

Natalia Madjarevic, 18th March 2016

Altmetric now supports a new scholarly identifier: Uniform Resource Name (URN). A URN is a type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and is used as a unique identifier for online content and resources. URNs are used widely across European institutional repositories including the DiVA Portal, which hosts research outputs produced by 40 universities and research institutions based in Sweden and Norway.

By supporting new identifiers such as URNs, Altmetric can track more research outputs across a broader range of disciplines, countries and repositories. Here’s an example of an Altmetric Details Page for the following URN: urn:nbn:se:norden:org:diva-4310

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This Altmetric Details Page shows a range of attention to a Nordic Council of Ministers report on the development of the Nordic bioeconomy – including tweets from academics, bioindustry practitioners and’s communication activities.

Adding support for URNs means Altmetric can track attention to research outputs with only a URN identifier – such as dissertations and theses – helping early career researchers to monitor and report on the attention to their work.

You can access attention data for outputs with URNs across Altmetric’s tools in the following ways:

If you’re sharing an output with a URN, post the link to the page that includes the URN (e.g. a link to the repository record) or the URN link (one like this). Either way, we’ll pick up the attention and generate an Altmetric Details Page for the output if we are tracking the domain. If a research output has more than one identifier (e.g. a URN and a DOI) Altmetric will merge attention across the different versions. You can also embed Altmetric badges using URNs as explained in our embeddable badges technical documentation.

Get sharing your URN content and feel free to contact us if you want to check we are tracking your repository domain!

Find out more about URNs:

  1. URN:NBN Resolver for Germany and Switzerland
  2. Uniform Resource Name Wikipedia entry:
  3. DiVA Portal:

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