Article Level Metrics
(ALMs) attempt to measure the impact of an individual article. ALMs use traditional data sources (e.g. number of citations) as well as newer alternative data sources (especially social media, tweets, blog posts, etc., see altmetrics.org
The Public Library of Science (PLOS) offered ALMs on its publishing platform as early as 2009. Often the two terms ALMs and Alternative Metrics or Altmetrics are used synonymously. Altmetrics (composed of: "alternative" and "metrics") are metrics that use data from alternative data sources to assess online activity. In principle, they can also be applied to persons, institutions or journals, regardless of articles. ALMs, on the other hand, include metrics that attempt to measure impact at the article level, regardless of whether they use traditional or alternative data sources.
Benefits and limitations
Alternative metrics are available shortly after publication and also cover areas outside the scientific community (e.g. Facebook, Twitter...) They are not limited to the article level, but can also be applied to other forms of publication such as data, software, lectures, etc.
Little research has so far been done on alternative metrics. For example, it is not clear whether and what significance a tweet or online activity has in general for the impact of a scientific contribution. In addition, the data basis and classification often differ between the individual providers. Altmetrics are therefore only seen as a supplement to traditional metrics and – like traditional metrics – are not suitable for assessing the quality of a scientific contribution. Rather, Altmetrics try to take into account that science communication is changing and therefore capture other ways in which research is communicated and discussed, especially the attention that a contribution generates on the web.
Availability of ALMs/Altmetrics
For example, ALMs are offered directly on the publishing platform of the Public Library of Science (PLOS) for articles published there. Various ALMs are available for individual articles, such as online usage data, citations or activities on the social web (blogs, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, ...).
Many publishers have now integrated ALMs and Altmetrics on their publishing platforms, such as the Nature Publishing Group, BiomedCentral or Taylor and Francis. Besides citation data, the alternative metrics of the commercial provider Altmetric
are often used. Altmetric visualises online activity using the altmetric badge (Altmetric Donut). Different colours represent the different areas of online activity (e.g. news, Twitter, Facebook). The altmetric badge is supplemented by an attention score, a weighed evaluation of online attention (see altmetric badge