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Manage Your Research Identity and Track Your Impact

This guide describes how to build a researcher identity online through the use of unique IDs and social media profiles. It also describes online tools for tracking the impact of your research.


Altmetrics are metrics beyond traditional citations. They measure and monitor the reach and impact of scholarship and research through online interactions such as Tweets, citations in Wikipedia, inclusion in policy documents, mentions in traditional media, and more.  Altmetrics stands for "alternative metrics." The "alternative" part distinguishes them from traditional metrics such as citation counts, journal prestige (impact factor), and author H-index. Altmetrics are meant to complement, not totally replace, these traditional measures.

Limitations of Altmetrics

Proponents of altmetrics note that they are able to measure more diverse/non-traditional impacts of research in a much shorter time period than traditional metrics (since citations can take many months or years to accrue).  Additionally, altmetrics allow for the tracking of diverse research outputs that are shared online such as code and data, rather than just formal publications.

However, the use of these metrics in research evaluation is still nascent, and best practices for presenting and measuring altmetrics are still being developed. Some concerns include:

  • The lack of a standard definition of what is truly being measured
  • The time-dependent nature of altmetrics: for example, older works may not have much altmetric activity associated with them, but still may be impactful
  • The difficulty in tracking items without a digital object identifier (DOI)


Other Options:

Many platforms offer download and pageview statistics for the articles and other research outputs that they host. These metrics are for your research's use on that platform only. These platforms include:

  • Journal websites
  • Institutional repositories (PRISM at the University of Calgary)
  • Subject repositories
  • ResearchGate

An Altmetrics Case study

On May 20, 2013, York University science librarian John Dupuis published a blog post titled The Canadian War on Science, in which he documented various cuts to science funding by the federal Conservative government, and the government's various policies restricting public and media access to federal scientists and scientific information. The post got a lot of coverage in mainstream and social media, but not in a way that's well measured by traditional impact metrics. Dupuis set out to document the influence of his post.

Further Reading

This free ebook guides you through a series of steps to help you increase the impact of your research and scholarship through a variety of methods, mostly focusing on altmetrics.