Altmetric Blog

How to get free Altmetric data to conduct research

Stacy Konkiel, 19th July 2018

A woman using a laptop computer

CC-BY WOCinTech Chat / flickr

Scientometrics researchers are well aware of how difficult and expensive it can be to access data for a bibliometrics study. That’s why Altmetric has created a free, easy way to find altmetrics data for research purposes: the Altmetric Researcher Data Access Program.

In this post, I’ll introduce the Altmetric Researcher Data Access Program, explaining the criteria for accessing our data, how to access our data in a format that suits your needs, and how to apply to the Researcher Data Access program.

About the Altmetric Researcher Data Access Program

Altmetric has been collecting data since 2011, across a variety of online sources that can be used to understand how research is communicated online, including:

  • Public policy documents
  • Syllabi
  • Patents
  • Wikipedia
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
  • Peer review (Publons, Pubpeer, etc)
  • And more!

You can also find altmetrics for virtually any research output imaginable, not just those with DOIs. Journal articles, monographs, datasets, book chapters, videos, and many other types of research formats are part of the nearly 10 million research outputs we’ve found attention for online.

We grant access in two main formats–searchable database access via Altmetric Explorer, and programmatic access via our API–for up to six months.

Eligibility for the Program

You don’t have to be an altmetrics expert to join the Researcher Program–we welcome altmetricians of all backgrounds and levels of experience!

However, we do a few minimum criteria that all applicants to the Researcher Data Access Program must meet:

  • You must have a specific research project in mind
  • You must be able to explain your project in detail
  • The research project must be a “one-off”, limited duration project
  • The research project must be “noncommercial” in nature

If you’re interested in using Altmetric’s data to create institutional or departmental reports or dashboards, please contact us via the form on our Altmetric for Institutions page to inquire about access.

How to access our data

Searching the Altmetric Explorer database

Altmetric Explorer is a database that enables you to search and filter all of our data very easily. You can run queries based on:

  • Journal name(s) or ISSN(s) (up to 25,000 at a time)
  • Output DOIs, PubMed IDs, Arxiv IDs, or other identifiers (up to 25,000 at a time)
  • Keyword search in output title or abstract
  • Publication date ranges
  • Mention dates (fixed to previous 24h, day, three days, month, three months, six months, one year)
  • Publisher name
  • PubMed query
  • Name of the outlet or social media user that has mentioned research

Search results or individual mentions can then be exported in CSV format, up to 1 million records at a time.

Programmatic access via the Altmetric API

When working with very large datasets, it can sometimes be more useful to programmatically query Altmetric’s data than to search a database. That’s where the Altmetric API comes in.

The Altmetric API allows you to run millions of queries very quickly, based on:

  • Timeframe (i.e. see all outputs mentioned in the previous 24h, day, three days, month, three months, six months, one year, or all time), plus parameters like “cited_in_reddit”
  • Output identifier (e.g. retrieve all metrics for mentions of a particular book by ISBN)

For example, if you were to run an API query to get altmetrics for all articles mentioned online in the past 1 day, you’d get back a JSON response that looks like this.

How to apply

Interested to know more and to apply to get free data? Visit the Altmetric Researcher Data Access Program webpage for a full run-down of all your options, then email for more information on how to apply.

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