Recently, recommendations of the*Metrics DFG project’ (2017-2019) were published.metric

The main objective of this project was to develop a deeper understanding of altmetrics (aka *metrics1 / social media metrics), in terms of their general significance and their perception amongst stakeholders.
The project’s findings can benefit altmetrics users and will contribute to the greater openness and transparency of altmetrics initiatives.

Project aims to include the analysis and evaluation of altmetrics’ origins as well as their perception amongst stakeholders. In the two-year-term explorative user/usage studies were conducted and the current state of affairs regarding social media platforms and altmetrics were analyzed, as well as an assessment of the technical foundations.

The project had four major goals:

  • First, the project aimed to describe popular and major social media platforms and their functionalities, e.g. retweets or likes. They represent the environment in which engagement with scholarly output takes place, thus forming the basis for the setup of and research on altmetrics 
  • Second, the project highlights the characteristics of, and differences between, users of social media platforms and the plat-forms’ functionalities. Why do they use certain functionalities and what for?
  • Thirdly it's studied how researchers perceive and use altmetrics in working routines was studied through surveys or by revealing implicit user preferences via on-line experiments. Those studies informed research in terms of perceived value, validity and reliability of altmetrics, and whether altmetrics can adequately assess scholarly outputs
  • A fourth work package completed the research by investigating the technical issues surrounding the setup of altmetrics.
Although data gathering came with it’s challenges, the project concluded that altmetrics are better at reflecting engagement with scholarly outputs stemming from outside academia than traditional metrics such as citations. Altmetrics support researchers in finding out whether they reach their intended readership and how readers perceive, discuss and engage with literature. Altmetrics have also been shown to be “tie breakers”. Evaluators of scholarly products take into account traditional indicators first (such as citation numbers), but if altmetrics are also available, they will incline evaluators to favor outputs with higher numbers in altmetrics. Finally, social media and other online environments offer researchers new ways to share additional information about their work with a broader public audience.
metrics findingl

The *metrics project also formulated  a list of recommendations around altmetrics following their 4 major goals.

You can find the complete report here:

Other outcomes of the project can be found here:


1. The project uses *metrics to summarize all of the different approaches involved in measuring scholarly communication,

publication, metrics

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