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Scholarly Communications

The scholarly communications and publishing ecosystem, including formats of academic literature (journals, monographs, edited collections), research impact, grants, copyright, Open Access, Open Educational Resources, and non-academic publishing.

Article-Level Metrics

  • Article-level metrics have grown in popularity in recent years.
  • They are proxies for the influence of individual research studies on their fields and the broader public. 
  • Article metrics can datasets from citation-tracking tools such as Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. However, they are also incorporate new datasets to show impact. 
  • They are used in hiring, tenure, promotion, evaluation, and grant applications to demonstrate the value of research output. 

Types of Article-Level Metrics

Traditional Citation Metrics

What is a Traditional Metric?

While looking at article-level metrics is a more recent phenomenon, what makes these "traditional" is the data they are build on. They measure impact by looking at the same research citation datasets, such as those from Scopus and Google Scholar, that journal and author metrics use. 


  • To look up article metrics in Scopus, search for your article's title or scroll to the publications at the bottom of your author page.
  • Select the title to bring up the Document Details page.
    Click the title of the article "Willing and acting in Husserl's lectures on ethics and value theory" to open its Document Details page
  • In the Document Details page, scroll down and click the accordion menu labeled "Metrics" to open it. From there, select the More Metrics" link to open the Metrics Detail page.  
    Select the button labeled "Metrics" and then the link labeled "More Metrics"
  • The Metrics Details page show a number of metrics, including total citations, citations by year, a benchmark percentile comparing the article's citations to similar documents, and a field-weighted citation impact number that also compares the article's citations to similar documents. 
  • Use the video below for an overview of the article metrics in Scopus. The beginning through 2:50 covers traditional metrics, and the rest of the video covers PlumX altmetrics

Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar only will provide total citations to an article, though they can be limited by date. They do not provide any benchmarking metrics.
  • However, Google Scholar looks at a wider pool of citable sources than Scopus does, allowing you to identify more citations. 
  • To find the citations, search for your article or scroll to your publications in your author profile. 
    • In the search results, the citations numbers will be provided in the "Cited by #" link at the bottom of the result. You can click the link to see the list of citations. 
      Link text Cited by 71 below search results for the article "The Philosophy of FJ Schelling: History, System, and Freedom"
    • On the author page, there is a column to the right of the article title in the column Cited By with a total number of citations. That number is also a link, and you can click it to see the list of citations. 
      Link text 71 in Cited By column in row for the article "The Philosophy of FJ Schelling: History, System, and Freedom"
  • On the page of citations, you can adjust the date range in the left column. This will give you total citations for that date range.
     Citation list for the article "The Philosophy of FJ Schelling: History, System, and Freedom." The link "Custom Range" has been changed to 2016-, and the total citations has changed from 71 to 20 at the top


What is an Altmetric?

  • While traditional metrics look at citations in other academic research, altmetrics look at more expansive ways of measuring impact. This might include
    • Mentions of the article in the news or on web sources like Wikipedia,
    • Shares of the article on social media, and
    • Citations in non-academic sources like policy documents and clinical guidance. 
  • Some altmetrics are designed to look at uses that are likely to lead to an academic research citation. Examples of this are
    • How many times an article was downloaded or viewed in on a publisher site or in library databases and
    • How often the article was saved in databases or citation managers.
  • There are a number of organizations that seek to measure research impact with altmetrics. Each uses different definitions and datasets. 

PlumX (Scopus)

  • PlumX provides information on five categories of impact. 
    • Citations: draws data from traditional citation databases but also citations in patents, clinical guidance, and policy documents from governmental organizations, non-profits, and think tanks. 
    • Usage: views and downloads from sources such as publishers, repositories, and Mendeley
    • Captures: indications a user is coming back to a work, such as a bookmark or save. 
    • Mentions: references to a work on web sources such as Wikipedia, news sites, blogs, and review sites like Goodreads.
    • Social media: references to the work on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, and more. 
  • PlumX metrics are included in Scopus below and article's traditional metrics. 
  • You can look at the above video starting at 2:50 to see how to find PlumX metrics in Scopus. 


  • Altmetric tracks a variety of data sources including public policy documents, the mainstream media, patents, post-publication review platforms like PubPeer, Wikipedia, the Open Syllabus Project, social media, and multimedia sites. 
  • Altmetric is integrated into a number of publisher's sites, including Wiley, Springer, and Taylor & Francis. 
  • Altmetric also provides a browser bookmarklet for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that lets you check their metrics when you are looking at an article online, as long as it can identify the DOI. 


  • Paperbuzz in an open source altmetrics tool from OurResearch
  • Papperbuzz draws on DOI provide CrossRef's data sources, which include patent citations, social mentions on Twitter and Reddit, links on blogs and Wikipedia, and more. 
  • Search Paperbuzz with an article's DOI. Data on articles from before 2017 are incomplete.