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Using Research Indicators

This guide provides information about indicators that can be used as a measure of research performance


Altmetrics is a Snowball Metric.Snowball Metrics symbol

Altmetrics Snowball Metrics symbol counts the number of online events that have been stimulated by a research output.

This metric divides the broad range of online events into four categories:

  • Scholarly Activity: the posting of research outputs in online tools that are used by academic scholars. These tools include Academic Identifiers and scholarly networking sites.
  • Scholarly Commentary: the commenting on research outputs in online tools that are used by academic scholars.
  • Social Activity: the sharing of information about research outputs on social media.
  • Mass Media: when you or your research has been referred to in the media e.g. in newspapers, on the radio or on TV.

The field of altmetrics is still new and dynamic, and much research about how it can be used as an indicator of research outcome or performance is being conducted.

In addition to Altmetric as a Snowball Metric, the term altmetric also refers to the concept of article level metrics and the Altmetric tool which displays as the badges for individual publications in JCU Research Portfolio.

The online sources that have been indexed and that are thus available to contribute to the counts of online activity are evolving. For this reason, Altmetrics defines the four categories within which the various indexed online sources can be distributed. The online tools listed in the Researcher Profiles, Identifiers and Engagement LibGuide, should not be taken as an exhaustive list, but rather as examples to illustrate the type of activity that could be counted in each category.

Recommended tools which can be used to explore, display and share the online activity about researchers and research outputs are listed below.

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