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Journal Rankings, Citation Counts, ResearcherID, H-index and Altmetrics

A brief guide to the basics of bibliometrics. Topics include: citation counts, journal rankings, journal metrics and altmetrics


Altmetrics is a developing field of study of new metrics based on data collected from a variety of sources including the social web. This new area of metrics was coined "altmetrics" by Jason Priem in 2010 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science. A document's altmetric score provides an indicator of its influence in society. Altmetric scores take into account the number of times an article is read or mentioned and is weighted by the importance of the mentioner and by the source. For example, an article mentioned in a newspaper would be weighted more heavily than a mention in a tweet by an individual. Many journals include some altmetrics on their websites that include views, downloads and social media mentions.

ScienceDirect includes altmetric scores for articles published in over 200 journals. The altmetrics in the ScienceDirect database are provided by and are based on these factors:

  • the number of times an article is mentioned
  • the significance of the media
  • the level of influence of each author for each mention of the artic

Mentions of articles are tracked in the following source types:

  • mainstream media
  • blogs
  • policy documents
  • multimedia
  • online reference managers
  • social media
  • manual additions

In addition to the altmetric score, ScienceDirect provides specific source counts, the number of readers, and their geographic location.

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