Dental Hypotheses

: 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--2

Altmetrics: A new emerging issue for dental research scientists

Jafar Kolahi 
 Independent Research Scientist, Founder and Managing Editor of Dental Hypotheses, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Jafar Kolahi
N0 24, Faree 15, Pardis, Shahin Shahr, Isfahan-83179 18981

How to cite this article:
Kolahi J. Altmetrics: A new emerging issue for dental research scientists.Dent Hypotheses 2015;6:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Kolahi J. Altmetrics: A new emerging issue for dental research scientists. Dent Hypotheses [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Oct 27 ];6:1-2
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Full Text

Impact factor (IF) is well-known among researches as classic measurement for scientific productivity. It measures the average number of citations to recent articles published in a journal. SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is an improved alternative for IF which uses an algorithm similar to Google PageRank. [1] SJR uses raw citation data of Scopus. SJR is a prestige metric based on the idea that "all citations are not created equal," in which citations from high prestige journal will have more value. Eigen factor is derived from a similar philosophy to SJR. Yet, it use raw data of Thomson Reuters ( Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) introduced by Leiden University and used Scopus data ( It measures the average number of citations like IF. Yet unlike IF, SNIP corrects for differences in citation practices between different scientific fields, thus allowing for more accurate between-field comparisons of citation impact.

Nevertheless, what is altmetrics? Above-mentioned measures focus on citations from other scientific journals. Yet, altmetrics choose another course for citations; online scholarly tools.

Data resources for altmetric analysis would be [Figure 1]:

Social media data, e.g., Twitter, Google +, Facebook (public posts), SinaWeibo, YouTube, Scholarly blogs, etc.Online reference managers, e.g., Mendeley, CiteULike.News sources pages, e.g., Time, Reuters, Cristian Science monitor, etc.{Figure 1}

Two popular sources of altmetric analysis are: Altmetric ( and ImpactStory (

ImpactStory is a subscription-based application that makes it easy to analyze altmetrics getting data from many sources, from Scopus and Mendeley to GitHub, Twitter, Figshare, and more, and displays it in a single, permanent link for an author, e.g.,

Altmetric is another interesting and popular source. It gives altmetric score to articles and compares it with articles of the journal, articles of a similar age, and all articles at Altmetric data base. Altmetric score is a weighted count of the different sources (newspaper stories, tweets, blog posts, comments) that refer to the paper. The following link showed an example:

Nevertheless, both classic and altmetric approaches have their own strengths and weakness. For example, citations from articles which disagree with a paper will have positive effect on its impact factor. Usefulness of altmetrics is an issue of controversy among scientists. Clearly altmetric can be used as early indicators of article impact and usefulness. The finding of a recent study showed strong evidence that six altmetric resources (tweets, Facebook wall posts, research highlights, blog mentions, mainstream media mentions, and forum posts) associate with citation counts in medical and biological sciences. The results also suggest that Google+ posts might perchance have little or no association with citations, and too little data was available to be confident about whether four of the altmetric resources (LinkedIn, pinners, questions, and reddits) associate with citation counts. [2] Another recent research indicated altmetrics complement, and most correlate significantly with, classic citation-based measures. [3]

On the other hand, some researchers believe that altmetrics is not reliable because it may be done by non-scientist which shows they attracted to buzzwords in titles. For example, surveys revealed that the great majority of scientists do not use Twitter (7-13%). According to this point of view, altmetrics only measure online attention surrounding journal articles and not measuring scientific quality. [4]

However, interests in altmetric are growing fast [Figure 2]. Yet, easy search of dental journals in PubMed by the key word "altmetric*" at January 19, 2015 showed no article. Hence, as a final point, I believe that authors and editors of dental journals must pay more attention to altmetrics as a new and fast tool to measure scholarly social impact.{Figure 2}


1Scimago Journal & Country Rank. Available from: [Last accessed on 2015 Jan 17].
2Thelwall M, Haustein S, Larivière V, Sugimoto CR. Do altmetrics work? Twitter and ten other social web services. PLoS One 2013;8:e64841.
3Liu CL, Xu YQ, Wu H, Chen SS, Guo JJ. Correlation and interaction visualization of altmetric indicators extracted from scholarly social network activities: Dimensions and structure. J Med Internet Res 2013;15:e259.
4Why you should ignore altmetrics and other bibliometric nightmares. Available from: [Last accessed on 2015 Jan 17].