Altmetric collects specific meta tags from the source of a research output page in order to recognize the output when it's mentioned or shared across a tracked attention source.

 

As PDFs do not have meta tags in the same way a webpage page does, we can’t automatically pick up mentions to PDF links in the same way we can with links to the landing page. Instead, we need to build support to track a publisher’s PDF outputs. We do this by transforming the PDF URLs into the landing page links so when we see a mention of the PDF we can follow the link to the landing page to pick up the metadata from there.


We build PDF tracking modules for our customers as part of their implementation.


The easiest way for us to do this is if the PDF URL follows the same path as the landing page. An example would be if the landing page and the PDF had the same URL path with the only difference being a “pdf” as a suffix in the link. 

 

Examples of trackable PDF links

 

For example, let's look at this article from Scientific Reports. The landing page and the PDF follow the same path, so we were very easily able to build support for PDF tracking for this publisher.

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-58856-0 - landing page

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-58856-0.pdf - PDF page

 

Another example is this article from Taylor and Francis. They have the PDF text in the middle of the URL, but the structure is the same and it is a logical pattern, so we were able to support tracking of these PDFs.

 

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09669582.2019.1679821 - landing page

           https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669582.2019.1679821 - PDF

 

We are always looking to support the tracking of PDFs wherever possible so if you would like to know if we can successfully track mentions of specific PDF links, please contact us and we will be happy to investigate.