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Research Impact


The information on this page is based on the following Sparc Primer:

Tananbaum, G. (2013). Article-Level Metrics: A SPARC Primer. Retrieved from: SPARC:

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What are Article Metrics?

Reading glases on magazineArticle-Level Metrics offer a way to measure the scholarly impact of an individual's article. These metrics are distinct from the journal publication in which it is published. Article-Level metrics encompass data drawn from citations, usage, captures, and altmetrics. Please see the boxes below for more details about these data sources.

Citation Tracking

Altmetrics: Social Media

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Altmetrics track data on how often an article has been mentioned on social media sites such as Facebook & Twitter.

Altmetric: Altmetric tracks an articles mention on social media. While some features of Altmetric are available by subscription only, there is a free bookmark that you can download to get data on a specific article.

Impact Story: a free web-based tool that allows researchers to find and share the online impact of their work.

Dimensions:a searchable database of scholarly publications including journal articles, pre-prints, conference papers, and book chapters. Allows you to search by author, title, subject of a work. Dimensions incorporates data from Altmetric.


Usage statistics captures data on how often an article has been viewed or downloaded. Here are some tools that capture that data:

  • Web of Science: The Web of Science databases provide usage counts (number of downloads) from 2013 for each article that it indexes.
  • PlumX Metrics: Provides data on the number of times an article has been viewed and downloaded. This tool provides metrics for journals from major publishers such as Springer & Elsevier
  • OpenBU: Publications in BU's Institutional Repository feature statistics on the number of views and downloads for each publication.

Journal publishers are starting to offer article level metrics for their publications. Two major publishers include:

  • PLOS: PLOS publishes a collection of open-access journals in medicine, biology, genetics, tropical diseases, computational biology, and pathogens. Each article has data on how often it has been shared, saved, viewed, and cited.
  • Elsevier Science Direct: Authors published in one of the Elsevier Science Direct Publications can sign-up to receive monthly article-level metrics.

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A select number of free reference managers offer information on the number of time an article has been saved within the manager. These include:


Guide Authors

Paula Carey
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Mary Foppiani
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