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Altmetrics Using PlumX: Home

Provides an overview of altmetrics with a specific focus on PlumX

PlumX Overview

The Baylor University Libraries have implemented PlumX with the intent of enabling researchers to see the impact of their research through alternative metrics (altmetrics) -- metrics other than traditional citation rates or journal impact factors.  More information on altmetrics can be found in the Bibliometrics Overview below.

Baylor's PlumX account is organized hierarchically, using the University's schools, colleges, and programs, and then by departments -- ultimately leading to individual researchers in the departments.  Baylor's institutional repository, BEARdocs, is also represented in PlumX, which provides altmetric data on the research artifacts in this repository. From a variety of views -- all the way from the "school" perspective to an "individual perspective -- PlumX provides options for augmenting "research stories", using 21st-century metrics. Additionally, PlumX provides alatmetrics on a wider variety of research artifacts, including, but not limited to: data sets; software code; presentations; press releases; theses/dissertations; anything that has a unique identifier. Details on the types of artifacts tracked by PlumX is available in the list of PlumX Artifacts and details about the types of metrics PlumX tracks are provided here.

At this time, Baylor's PlumX account is minimally populated, and consequently does not necessarily reflect 100% of the research currently produced at Baylor, although we do believe it does represent nearly 100% of the researchers currently affiliated with Baylor.  We developed the initial account by using citations extracted from Scopus for Baylor researchers, then narrowing that data to researchers currently affiliated with Baylor, using  data from Institutional Research and Testing. In order for PlumX to track individual artifacts, we also needed to provide unique identifiers (DOIs, ISBNs, URIs, etc.) for these artifacts. Consequently, some caveats:

  • If you have no citations associated with your individual PlumX account, it is most likely that the citations were not indexed in Scopus, or they weren't represented in the system we used to collect unique identifiers.
  • If you are missing citations from your individual PlumX account, it is most likely that the citations were not indexed in Scopus, they weren't represented in the system we used to collect unique identifiers, or they were published after we sent our data to PlumX for implementation.

Plum Analytics and ORCID are tightly integrated; so anyone with an ORCID iD who keeps his/her ORCID profile current with new research and grant citations will have that data seamlessly transferred to his/her PlumX account, as long as PlumX has your ORCID iD and as long as the citations are publicly available. See the libraries' research guides on ORCID and Academic Identity for more information on ORCID.

Bibliometrics Overview

Bibliometrics are measurements that are based on published works.  Often bibliometrics are used to help determine research productivity and research impact which in turn are influential in decisions on the promotion and hiring of academics.  Needless to say, all bibliometrics should only be used in the appropriate context:  usually the academic discipline in which the work appears.  Traditional metrics are generally based on citations and other scholarly references.  Altmetrics generally involve mentions in social media and downloads.  Although currently there is a distinction between the traditional metrics and altmetrics, this distinction is likely to disappear over time.

Bibliometrics are generally applied to books, journals, articles, and authors.  A summary of the different metrics can be seen in this figure.

Increasingly, book chapters can be tracked the same way that articles can be tracked.  However, traditionally the mark of success for a book was to be listed in a bibliography for the discipline and to have the book reviewed in as many journal as possible.  Alternatively, we can count how many libraries (academic and public) own your book and also even look at the Amazon rating for a book.

Some journals “count” more or are “ranked” higher; and often scholars are encouraged to publish in these "good" journals and libraries will tend to subscribe to these "influential" journals more.  Impact Factor is one of the main metrics for journals and is the average number of citations received per paper for a given journal during the preceding two years.  A lesser known metric is Eigenfactor which measures of how much time readers spend with a journal and is greatly influenced by the number of articles in the journal.  One metric that is starting to grow in popularity is the H Index which is also highly influenced by the number of papers published.  Altmetrics for a journal is simply the sum of all the altmetrics of each of the articles.  You may have seen the altmetric torus (from the actual company altmetrics) which gives the total number of “mentions” and the colors of the torus indicate what kind of “mentions.”

Traditionally, journal articles are first evaluated based on what journal it is published in.  Then, articles are evaluated based on the number of citations it has.  Keep in mind that different databases will give different citation numbers.  For almetrics, the main measurement is at the article level which is why sometimes people equate altmetrics to article metrics.  Article altmetircs include downloads/views (both from the publisher’s website and repositories), social media mentions, and more formal newsbriefs or blog posts about the article.

Traditional author metrics are a summary of an authors's work and influence and are often listed on CVs.  They include the total number of papers and the total citations and the average citation per paper.  But the total and average citations can be greatly influenced by a single paper if it has an overwhelming number of citations. H-index (the number of papers h that have been cited at least h number of times) gets around this problem somewhat; but it is highly influenced by the number of papers that have been written so when comparing people, one can normalize it by academic age (or the years since receiving a PhD). The altmetrics for authors are based on the sum of the altmetrics of their articles.  

How to Use PlumX

PlumX Plum Print

Plum Analytics visually displays altmetrics -- Plum Print -- for research artifacts. Mouse over the image for details when you see a Plum Print. Development and application of a novel method for high-throughput determination of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in sediments: Profile on PlumX

PlumX Metrics

PlumX categorizes metrics into 5 separate types:

  • Usage (clicks, downloads, views, library holdings, video plays, and more)
  • Captures (bookmarks, code forks, favorites, readers, watchers, and more)
  • Mentions (blog posts, comments, reviews, Wikipedia links, and more)
  • Social Media (+1s, likes, shares, tweets, and more)
  • Citations (citation indexes, patent citations, clinical citations, and more)

More details can be found at PlumX.

PlumX Artifacts

PlumX refers to research outputs of all types as artifacts and tracks more than 60 different types of artifacts including:

  • abstracts
  • articles
  • blog posts
  • books
  • clinical trials
  • code
  • data sets
  • design architecture
  • exhibition events
  • images
  • interviews
  • live performances
  • media
  • musical scores
  • online courses
  • papers
  • patents
  • posters
  • presentations
  • press releases
  • reviews
  • theses/dissertations

PlumX Sources

PlumX draws its metrics from over 30 different sources including:

  • publication databases (Scopus, Pubmed, EBSCO)
  • scholarly blogs
  • video and presentation sharing sites (Youtube, Vimeo, Slideshare)
  • social media sites (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Wikipedia
  • the code-sharing site Github.

Subject Guide

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