Altmetric Blog

Introducing the best altmetrics experience yet

Jean Liu, 22nd September 2016

efi2-InstitutionalA new advancement in altmetrics 

Altmetric celebrated its 5th birthday this month. Looking back, it’s exciting to see what we’ve accomplished as members of the wider scholarly community. Thanks to the passionate advocacy of our early adopters, a growing number of publishers, universities, and other organisations now actively incorporate our altmetrics data into their reporting of non-traditional impacts.

And now, we have a new milestone that we’re extremely proud to tell you about. Two years after the original Altmetric Explorer for Institutions (EFI) was first released, this week we are unveiling the new and improved EFI version 2. The new platform contains great improvements to functionality, all based on customer feedback. We’ve introduced some exciting new features, including more powerful searching and sorting capabilities, richer visualisations for data reporting, and a gorgeous, intuitive user interface. Overall, these changes represent the largest and most significant update we’ve ever made to the Explorer family of apps.


The making of Explorer for Institutions v2

After the original EFI platform debuted in June 2014, it was quickly adopted by many universities, funders, and other organisations from all over the world. As more people started using the platform, great feedback came rolling in. Over time, we began to consider doing a major re-design of the platform so that we could undertake usability improvements and add new data visualisations.

At the start of this year, we assembled a small team (code-named “Amundsen” after the famed 19th century Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen) to completely re-imagine EFI. We set out to build a brand new product that was centred around the use cases we’d gathered from librarians, research administrators, and researchers through past surveys, meetings at conferences, email requests, and hours of interviews.

The Explorer for Institutions team: Paul Mucur (CTO), Jean Liu (Product Development Manager), Matt MacLeod (Lead UI Developer), Maciej Gajewski (Software Developer), and Louise Hills (Head of Development; not pictured).

The Explorer for Institutions team deep in discussion: Paul Mucur (CTO), Jean Liu (Product Development Manager), Matt MacLeod (Lead UI Developer), Maciej Gajewski (Software Developer), and Louise Hills (Head of Development… not pictured as she is the photographer!).

We knew from the start that we also wanted to incorporate rapid user feedback at every step of the development process, and so we established our very first Altmetric Beta Testing Programme. The Programme began with 5 user groups of 5-10 people from universities and funders, and later grew to 8 groups as the project continued. We employed a mix of remote (survey-based) testing and in-person focus groups to test and validate our product features. Often, we were able to get really quick feedback for features we had literally just released moments earlier. We’re extremely grateful to our many Beta Testers for investing their time to test the product extensively and provide such useful feedback.

An in-person user testing session that we ran mid-way through development. We established the Altmetric Beta Testing Programme in order to keep user feedback at the heart of the Explorer development process.

An in-person user testing session that we ran mid-way through development. We established the Altmetric Beta Testing Programme in order to keep user feedback at the heart of the Explorer development process.


What’s new in EFI v2?

DepartmentsTo help researchers, research administrators, librarians, and others to assess the reach, engagement, and influence of relevant research outputs, we have re-focused the EFI v2 user interface to make it easy to perform 3 key activities: 1) Search for research outputs, 2) View Altmetric details pages, and 3) Analyse the rich attention data.

Upon logging, in, you’ll immediately notice a prominent search box at the top of the page, allowing you to enter a simple search term (such as a keyword, publication title, journal name, scholarly identifier, research output type, etc.) and dive into the data right away. The search box is clever enough to provide suggestions of what you might be looking for, so all you need to do is start typing.

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 09.27.02The search results interface, in addition to displaying our iconic donuts, also allows you to sort research outputs by Altmetric Attention Score, attention source type (now including Mendeley readership), and publication date. This means that it’s easier than ever to jump to outputs with attention in the sources that you care the most about.

We have also created a powerful Results Analysis panel which has 4 excellent tools: the Summary tab (for monitoring mentions over time), the Highlights tab (for seeing recent interesting, notable attention), the Demographics tab (for assessing global Twitter reach), and the Mentions tab (for viewing mentions by attention source and time). These 4 tools provide a great starting point for creating comprehensive altmetrics data reports, and we plan to enhance the functionality over the next few months.

The major features included in EFI v2 are listed below:

  • analysisBrand new user interface, with enhanced visualisations
  • Powerful search capabilities for finding relevant research outputs (from your own institution or the entire Altmetric database of over 7 million outputs) and identifying the corresponding attention data
  • New chart of attention over time and breakdown by attention source
  • New mentions tab that lets you browse all of attention by source, and in any time frame
  • New interactive map that lets you explore Twitter attention from around the world
  • New panel that shows the trending news stories about your institution’s research outputs


Promo poster EFI v2Getting started with EFI v2

EFI v2 is available now! We are in the process of upgrading all of our existing customers to use the new EFI v2 platform. If you already use EFI v1, then your institutional site administrator should already have a date for when the upgrade will take place. If your institution has already upgraded, then as an existing user you’ll simply need to login as usual with the same credentials to go to your account in the new EFI v2. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at if you have any questions about the upgrade process.

For new subscriptions, please contact us at for more information.

To learn more about EFI v2 and its amazing new features, we’d love for you to join our introductory webinar on the 6th October at 10am EST. You can also read about the features in our Knowledgebase or explore some of our new training and promotional materials.


We’d love to hear from you!

Because we shape our product priorities based on the feedback we hear from users, we would love to hear from you! Do you like the new platform? Is there anything in EFI v2 that you wish that we would add? If you enjoy answering surveys and would like to join our Altmetric Beta Testing Programme, please express your interest by emailing

We are continuing to actively build new features for EFI v2, and will announce new functionality as it becomes available. We are also planning to roll out version 2 for Explorer for Publishers as well as our free librarian account users, so stay tuned for future announcements about those products.


What do you think of the new Explorer for Institutions v2? Tell us in the comments below!


1 Responses to “Introducing the best altmetrics experience yet”

News Roundup | LJ INFOdocket
September 22, 2016 at 12:00 am

[…] 3. Now Available: Altmetric Explorer for Institutions (EFI) Version 2 […]

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