Altmetric in the News

2018 Altmetric research grant awarded to team studying Chinese “super app” WeChat

Tuesday May 15 2018 – London, UK — Alternative metrics provider Altmetric has announced its annual research grant for 2018 has been awarded to PhD candidate Shenmeng Xu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for the project, “An Exploration of the Communication of Scholarly Articles on WeChat.”

Launched in 2016, the Altmetric Annual Research Grant awards up to £1,500 to support a project in the altmetrics space, with the aim of facilitating research that would not otherwise be possible.

Ms. Xu will lead the study of WeChat as a principal investigator, along with with co-investigators Dr Bradley Hemminger (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Dr Xianwen Wang (Dalian University of Technology, China). Her team will study WeChat, a Chinese “super app” that boasts over 950 million active monthly users. In particular, the researchers will examine the role that WeChat Official Accounts play in the dissemination of scholarship by translating, posting, and commenting upon journal articles.

Speaking about the grant, Ms. Xu said, “We are excited to investigate the reach and impact of scholarly articles on WeChat. This proposed project will help us better understand not only whether WeChat can be a potential altmetrics source but also the nuances of tracking WeChat data. Our research will provide us new insights into cross-language and cross-cultural scholarly communication.”

Altmetric’s Director of Research & Education Stacy Konkiel added, “Altmetric is pleased to support Ms. Xu and her collaborators in studying WeChat, as it is potentially such a important channel for knowledge diffusion in China and the Chinese diaspora.”

Updates on progress of the project will be posted on the Altmetric blog, and all results of the research will be made openly available at the end of the project.


USA research team: Shenmeng Xu,
China research team: Dr. Xianwen Wang,
Altmetric: Stacy Konkiel,


About Altmetric
Altmetric’s mission is to track and analyze the online activity around scholarly literature. It provides a more robust picture of the influence and reach of scholarly work by collating what people are saying about research in sources like the mainstream media, policy documents, social networks, blogs, and other scholarly and non-scholarly forums. Altmetric works with some of the biggest publishers, funders, and institutions around the world to deliver this data in an accessible and reliable format. Altmetric is supported by Digital Science. Find out more at and follow us on Twitter @altmetric.

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