Altmetric Blog

How-To: search for books in the Altmetric Explorer

Roisi Proven, 19th April 2021

As well as tracking millions of research articles, Altmetric also tracks attention for over a million books and book chapters. This post will show you the easiest ways to search for these outputs in the Altmetric Explorer, and learn more about attention around these titles. 


The Output Type filter in the Altmetric Explorer

The first step when searching for a Book or Book Chapter is to ensure that you have the correct filters set, these are shown in the screenshot above. It is possible for a Book Chapter to have attention, but for the parent Book record to have no attention, so in order to get a full picture of attention it is important to have both of these filters selected when looking at attention for Books.

Searching by Identifier 

The easiest way to find a book in the Altmetric Explorer is to use a scholarly identifier. The two main identifiers that are useful here are the DOI and the ISBN. All the books in our system will have at least one of these identifiers, so if you are searching for a particular title this is the most reliable way to find it.  

Other helpful query fields for books

Many of our search facets can be used to narrow down Books search results, and glen interesting information about how Books are being talked about

Publisher: If you are interested in viewing attention for all books by a specific publisher or University Press, you can do this by using the “Publisher” search facet. If you don’t find the publisher on our list we may not yet be tracking them, please feel free to contact us to look at adding tracking.

Keywords: If you would like to look for books by a certain author, or with particular words in the title, using the “keyword” search field can help you narrow your search further.

DOI Prefix: Many publishers will use a standardised DOI prefix for all their titles, so this can also be used to narrow down Books from one publisher. For example, to find books from MIT Press you could either search MIT Press in the publisher field, or search for the DOI prefix 10.7551.

Open Access Type: A recently added filter in the Altmetric Explorer, you can now filter to look for different types of Open Access Books. This allows you to search for only Closed, only Open, or a combination of any number of Open Access colour categories.

Can’t find the book you want?

The complexity of metadata around Books, and the fact that the domain is still evolving quickly, means that there are a few reasons why you might not be able to find a Book:

  • It has no attention: The simplest reason for a book not being in our database is that there isn’t any attention for it yet. A record will generally only be created once we’ve seen some attention for the tracked identifier.
  • It is not being shared in a way we can track: The standardisation of journal articles, means that, in general, there is one main link that people will share to draw attention to that piece of work. With books, there is a far broader range of locations that people can link to – they may link to the publisher site, or an Amazon product page, or the promotional website of a new title. This makes it harder for us to ensure we have captured all the attention for a title.
  • It doesn’t have enough accessible metadata: In order to track attention, Altmetric relies on an identifier being present in metadata. With books, there is a far larger variety in the metadata we have access to, and many publishers do not have any metadata on their Book pages at all. This is something we are always working on with academic publishers, and members of our team are also on the Crossref co-access working group, which looks at this problem more widely. 
  • We haven’t yet enabled tracking: We can pick up books with DOIs automatically, but if a book only has an ISBN we will need to make some modifications to our system to make sure that we pick up new mentions of that ISBN. 
  • Your organisation does not have access to Altmetric for Books: Our Books attention is an optional add-on to our Altmetric Explorer service, if your organisation would like to discuss adding Books to your Altmetric account, please email us at

If you have any questions about Book tracking, please feel free to reach out to us!


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