The term ‘altmetrics’ stands for ‘alternative metrics’ for scholarly output. The term has been initially coined in 2010 by Jason Priem in a tweet, claiming that he would prefer the term over other terms since it implies ‘a diversity of measures’. Shortly after, Priem together with his colleagues published a manifesto in which an understanding of Altmetrics has been coined that influenced the Altmetrics community sustainably: “That dog-eared (but uncited) article that used to live in a shelf now lives in Mendeley, CiteUlike, or Zotero – where we can see and count it. That hallway conversation about a recent finding has moved to blogs and social networks. This diverse group of activities forms a composite trace of impact far richer than any available before“.
Since then, altmetrics have become a strongly growing topic in bibliometrics, informetrics, and scientometrics. Alternative metrics now resembles several initiatives to find metrics or indicators for scholarly output beyond citations. This trend is reinforced as several digital platforms provide data about downloads, views or shares of output which contains or links scientific information. Finally this has led to massive increase of available information about scientific research online as novel services arise which aim at organizing and communicating scientific research. Currently, there is some discussion as to whether the ‘alt’ part of altmetrics is still useful. Some scholars therefore suggest using the term complementary metrics instead. Nevertheless, altmetrics can be considered as the organizing concept for scholarly impact assessment in the realm of open science.