Skip to main content
A university for the real world

Notes and limitations

Potential limitations and solutions

When using Altmetric, we need to be mindful of its potential limitations:

  1. It does not tell you anything about the quality of the research, though reading the linked discussions might. Remember, attention can be both positive and negative.
  2. Different subject areas aren’t directly comparable, because a popular and more accessible research topic may have higher scores because more people are sharing about it.
  3. Online conversation without DOIs or direct links may not be collected, resulting in lower scores.

Some potential solutions to address the limitations when using Altmetric include:

  • Including citations to create a more comprehensive picture of research influence.
  • Give viewers of Altmetric a solid reference point when presenting the data: It’s usually much more informative to say, “This article has an Altmetric score of 35, putting it in the 93rd percentile compared to articles of a similar age” than it is to say “This article has a score of 35” alone.
  • Presenting qualitative data alongside metrics can create a much more compelling case for research’s impact. For example, rather than saying, “This paper has been mentioned in 32 news outlets,” you can say, “This paper has been mentioned in 32 news outlets worldwide, including The New York Times and The Guardian.”
  • If a mention is missing, please reach out to the http://lib.bus@qut.edu.au - library team