Article-Level Metrics (ALMs), Altmetrics and Research Impact

Whilst journal Impact Factors and citation counts remain valued as indicators of quality in research, other methods of gauging impact are emerging.

Article Level Metrics

Article Level Metrics (ALMs) are an alternative to the journal Impact Factor, and focus on capturing data related to the individual article. For instance, for those of you who publish in the PLOS journals, do you know that ALMs are being displayed for every article across all the PLOS journals? To see the metrics for an article, navigate to the article page and click on the ‘Metrics’ tab. Available metrics include the number of article views and PDF downloads, and the number of times the paper has been saved on Mendeley and discussed on Twitter and in blogs.

ALMs help capture an article’s scholarly and social visibility. This can be especially useful in areas such as medicine and life sciences where debate can indicate communal value, a point made in the overview Article‐Level Metrics: A SPARC Primer by Greg Tananbaum. This primer gives some useful definitions and discussion of the pros and cons of ALMs.


Wiley has recently been running a trial on the use of Altmetrics for a number of subscription and open access journals.

Last week Altmetric announced another 6-month pilot initiative, with Elsevier, which involves the integration of the Altmetric badges into 26 journals on ScienceDirect.

BMJ has also introduced the Altmetric widget across all articles published in BMJ’s portfolio of journals.

For a view of how article level metrics can impact science, see

You can see the Altmetric score for articles you are reading online by dragging and dropping the ‘Altmetric it!’ bookmarklet onto your bookmarks bar (works with Chrome, Firefox and Safari)


Since the CRIS was upgraded in September, you will have noticed on your individual publication records, where a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is present, an Altmetric badge with score is shown (the CRIS is SGUL’s Current Research Information System, accessible by SGUL staff and researchers).

If you have any queries, please contact us via

CRIS Support and Development Team