Altmetric allows altmetrics researchers to use its data for free, for noncommercial research purposes.
This article explains the various formats for accessing Altmetric’s data, links to handy resources for conducting your own altmetrics research with Altmetric data, and explains how you can request access to the data.
We kindly ask that all researchers who study our data attribute Altmetric in their presentations or publications’ Acknowledgements section.
Ways to access Altmetric’s data
We grant access to researchers for noncommercial research purposes. Terms of access are usually granted for 6 months (except in the case of our free, rate-limited metrics API, which you can use indefinitely). Researchers seeking access to Explorer, our JSON database dump file, high-volume free API access, or the full-text API must apply to join the Altmetric Researcher Data Access Program (see below for information on how to do so).
If you’re interested in using Altmetric’s data to create institutional or departmental reports or dashboards, please contact us via the form on our Altmetric for Institutions page to inquire about access.
Altmetric Explorer is a database that enables you to search and filter all of our data. You can run queries on Altmetric’s data in Explorer in the following ways:
Journal name(s) or ISSN(s)
Output DOIs, PubMed IDs, Arxiv IDs, or other identifiers
Keyword search in output title or abstract
Publication date ranges
Mention dates (fixed to previous 24h, day, three days, month, three months, six months, one year)
Name of the outlet or social media user that has mentioned research
Search results or individual mentions can then be exported in CSV format.
The free Altmetric API allows you to run queries based on:
Timeframe (i.e. see all outputs mentioned in the previous 24h, day, three days, month, three months, six months, or one year)
Output identifier (e.g. retrieve all metrics for mentions of a particular book by ISBN)
If you want to use the free Altmetric API to pull metrics for all papers in a particular journal, or for all outputs written in a specific discipline, etc, the best approach is to use another service like Web of Science to create a list of outputs you’d like to retrieve data for. Then, you can write a script or use a wrapper (see Resources below) to programmatically call the Altmetric API for each output, using those outputs’ identifiers.
We rate limit free API requests, so if you are working without an API key, please limit your calls to no more than 1 per second. If you’d like to make faster API calls, please contact us to request a free API key (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In limited instances, we can grant access to the full-text, commercial Altmetric API, which includes mention author metadata and snippets of mentions (for all sources except for Twitter). API calls are made using valid persistent identifiers (e.g. SSRN identifiers, DOIs, etc).
JSON “database dump” file
This dataset is intended for use only by researchers with extensive experience working programmatically with very large JSON files. Compressed as a .tar.gz file, the dataset is ~18 GB.
This dataset is the equivalent of making the /fetch call on all of the articles in our database. The format of the JSON file is described on the Altmetric Commercial API documentation.
The dataset is updated approximately every six months. The last update of this data occurred on October 6, 2017.
The dataset is a directory tree containing around 8.1M JSON files, with each file representing a single output. Only outputs with an Altmetric Attention Score > 0 appear in this dataset.
Because the data is contained in a single large file, it is possible to run queries based on journal ISSN, publisher subject area, title or abstract keywords, author names, or other data keys included in /fetch calls.
Note that due to licensing restrictions this data snapshot has had the tweet full-text removed. You can still gather tweet IDs from this dataset to lookup tweets using the Twitter API.
Questions about Altmetric’s data collection practices, sources, etc: We describe most of our data collection practices and sources here in the Altmetric Support portal and the Altmetric API documentation. In the event that these resources do not include the information you seek, we’d be happy to answer your more advanced questions--just drop us a line at email@example.com.
Guide to describing Altmetric’s data: Please follow this guide when sharing your study publicly. It includes the proper terminology to use when talking about the Altmetric Attention Score, social media metrics sourced from Altmetric, and more.
Altmetric logos: If you wish to include Altmetric logos or branding in a presentation or publication about Altmetric, use these visual resources.
Check out the many guides to using Altmetric Explorer on our Support portal
The Free Altmetric API documentation can be found here. To request an API key to make high-volume free API calls or to request access to the full-text, Commercial API, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third-party software packages: Researchers have developed some nice packages for using the Altmetric API, including rAltmetric (R), PyAltmetric (Python), and altmetric (Ruby). These packages are not developed nor maintained by Altmetric--please contact the packages’ respective owners for more information or to report bugs.
Answers to most JSON-related questions can be found on the Q&A site StackOverflow.
Requesting access to Altmetric data
If you’re working on a noncommercial research project on altmetrics, chances are that you’re a great candidate for the Altmetric Researcher Data Access Program! To join the Program, email email@example.com for more information.