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HARC: Helpful Academic Researchers Companion

HARC has been designed to answer the questions researchers ask at every step of the research life cycle

Alternative author performance metrics

What is the online public impact of or engagement with your research?

Alternative metrics uses measures other than citation counts in research evaluation .

Alternative metrics attempt to capture the online media buzz, readership, recommendations surrounding a research output. It also aims to show the engagement and social/cultural/discipline impact of a piece of research on a range of readers, both the traditional consumers of research publications (students,academics, researchers) as well as the engagement of general public, whose interest and readership is not captured by citation counts.

Alternative metrics may measure the activity or research mentions on social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. etc.) or social networking platforms such as ResearchGate,, Mendeley, LinkedIn. They can also track an article's or chapter's download and view statistics and identify if the item has been cited in a government policy documents.

Alternative metrics can have limitations, tracking the big social media cites, but not capturing local mentions.


How do you, as a researcher, encourage public engagement with your article?

  • Use the Social media share buttons:
    Most publishing platforms provide an array of social media tools to invite people to read your article. Hit the share button! provides information on how you can share your article while respecting the journal's access and usage conditions.

  • Go Open Access:
    Publish open access articles or make the publisher authorised green version of your paper available in Research Online, ECU's institutional repository. Your open access paper will be indexed in Google and Google Scholar and will reach a world wide audience (not only those who have a subscription to the journal) and you will receive readership and download statistics!

Articles on Research Online will display the Altmetric doughnut and the PluxX logo when the article has received social media mentions.

For example: The article Randomized controlled trial of a peer led multimodal intervention for men with prostate cancer to increase exercise participation has both Altmetric and PlumX metrics (click on the logos to view the metrics in greater detail).

Authors should always try to embed the URL of their article when sharing their article on various platforms.

Alternative author performance metrics

Alternative metrics use measures other than citation counts in research evaluation.



Altmetrics are metrics and qualitative data that can be used to complement traditional, citation-based metrics.

Altmetrics keeps track of outputs in social media mentions and as identifies which social media channels are being used - this can also be used to identify the most effective channels to disseminate information about your research.

Image of the Altmetric doughnut showing social media mentions by social media type


An article's Altmetric views are indicated in the doughnut. Different colours identify the social media sources where the article is mentioned.

To view full data, comments and coverage

  • click on the doughnut and you will be taken to the Altmetric website to view the full metrics.

What does Altmetric track?

  • the volume (number of people, academic, practitioner, public)
  • sources (which medium)
  • authors who have cited the article

View an Article's Altmetrics Score data using the Altmetric Bookmarklet

  • Install the free Altmetric bookmarklet in your Chrome, Safari, or Firefox browser
  • Visit your article, dataset, or other output’s item page
  • Click on the bookmarklet for instant metrics and full-text mentions

Altmetric Data Source: Worldwide patent citations

Tracking patent citations is an important way to understand the economic impacts of scholarship.

We’re now indexing citations to research found in 8 million patents from nine jurisdictions worldwide, including World Intellectual Property Organization, United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the European Patent Office.

PlumX in Scopus


Image shows PlumX Metrics logo 


The PlumX icon displays in Scopus document details pages (and other database providers)

The larger the handprint, the higher the count.

Where a PlumX icon is displayed you can click on the icon to view detailed statistics.


PlumX - what is PlumX

PlumX gathers and brings together appropriate research metrics for all types of scholarly research output.

Metrics are categorized into 5 separate categories: Usage, Captures, Mentions, Social Media, and Citations.

Image shows PlumX metrics categories of usage captures mentions social media and citations

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Image of PlumX Coverage with link to

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Download and views counts

Download and views counts of open access and published versions of papers are also interesting and useful measures of impact.

ECU researchers can provide Open Access versions of their publications to Research Online (ECU's insitutional repository). This can make the full text of publications which would otherwise be available only by subscription, available to the general public all over the world. Authors who provide open access versions of their papers also receive download statistics (volume, location, institutional type etc.)

Some publisher websites and social networking websites also provide download and views counts for publications.

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