Telling the Story of Research Through Altmetrics Categories

In order to tame the big data of all the possible online interactions with all the different types of research output, PlumX categorizes them into 5 categories. Each category tells a different story of research. The 5 categories are:

  • Usage — The most important metric after citations
  • Captures — Leading indicator of citations
  • Mentions — Where the stories of research are found
  • Social Media — Indicates how research is promoted
  • Citations — Traditional measure of impact

Recently we took a look at all of our coverage numbers and created an infographic about them. This process revealed some interesting things about each of our categories.

Data about each of our 5 categories of metrics

Here is what we uncovered about each category:

Usage  Of the 52.6 million research artifacts tracked in PlumX, 17.3 million have usage metrics. That is, about one-third of the PlumX corpus has been demonstrably used in some way.

Captures — There are 457.9 million individual Capture interactions with all of the research in the PlumX corpus. This is the number of times that someone has indicated they want to come back to this research later. This has been shown to be a leading indicator of citations.

MentionsWikipedia is an important source of Mentions as they can help you understand how research is being discussed and used. We found that research in the PlumX corpus has been mentioned 17.6 million times in Wikipedia.

Social Media — Social media is an indication of the buzz and attention about your research. While it is growing in adoption, only 4.7% of all of the 52.6 million research artifacts in the PlumX corpus have social media. It is an important metric to track because it indicates how well your research is being promoted, but it tells only a small part of the stories of research.

Citations — It is often said that books do not get cited as much as articles. We found that to be true of the books and articles we track. Articles garnered 6.9 times as many citations as books. This is one reason why using different metrics for books is important.

We have more numbers to share.

Download the Coverage Infographic.