What is Altmetric?
Altmetric is a system that tracks the attention that research outputs such as scholarly articles and data sets receive online. It pulls data from:
Social media such as Twitter and Facebook
Traditional media - both mainstream (The Guardian, New York Times) and field specific (New Scientist, Bird Watching). Many non-English language titles are covered.
Blogs - both major organisations (Cancer Research UK) and individual researchers
Online reference managers like Mendeley and CiteULike
We track too many sources to list them individually but a more detailed breakdown is available here.
Altmetric cleans up and normalizes the data from these sources then makes it available for analysis. A key difference between Altmetric and other social media monitoring services is that Altmetric will disambiguate links to outputs: it knows that even though some tweets might link to a PubMed abstract, newspapers to the publisher's site and blog posts to a dx.doi.org link they're all talking about the same paper.
What does it provide?
After Altmetric aggregates all of the information (we call each piece of information a post) it can find about a research output it looks at both the quantity and the quality of attention being paid to an output and visualises it:
The number inside the coloured circle (also called badge or donut) is the Altmetric Attention Score for the output being viewed. This is a quantitative measure of the quality and quantity of attention that the output has received - you can read more about the scoring algorithm here.
The colours themselves reflect where the posts mentioning the output came from. For example, red means that the output has been mentioned by mainstream news outlets, blue means it has been tweeted about. You can find more information about the meaning of each colour here.