The development of alternative indicators (altmetrics) can be traced back to a discussion a few years ago where the central question was: does the focus on classical bibliometric indicators still adequately reflect the scientific and social significance of scientific work in the Internet age? In the course of this discussion, the term “altmetrics” was introduced as a collective term for all those indicators that contain previously unnoticed information from the Internet—especially concerning social media. Altmetrics shed light on the reception of scientific publications in news websites as well as in scientific blogs, policy papers, and other web-based content. This chapter deals with the current state of the art of altmetrics, focusing on the present discussion about the informative value of altmetrics. Furthermore, we investigate to what extent altmetrics can be used in scientific evaluations. We conclude our chapter with an outlook on the potential prospects for success of altmetrics in different fields of application.
Part of the book: Scientometrics