What are PlumX Metrics?

July 13, 2016 at 3:58 pm

PlumX1You might have seen this colorful image  recently when searching for citations in the CINAHL database or any of the other EBSCOhost databases. So what is it, what do those different colors mean, and why should researchers care?

What is it?
That colorful image is a “widget” and it provides some interesting and insightful information regarding the scholarly attention surrounding that particular citation. The PlumX Metrics widget, from Plum Analytics, provides metrics that allow searchers to visualize the research impact of articles, books, chapters, e-books and institutional repository materials.

What do those different colors mean?

The colors on the widget change depending on the altmetrics found in each of the five categories: Usage (green), Captures (purple), Mentions (yellow), Social Media (blue) and citations (orange). If more altmetrics data is found in a certain category for an article, the more pronounced the color is shown in the widget. As an example, see both Figures 1 and 2 below – notice how the article in Figure 1 has attracted significantly more attention than the article in Figure 2. Hovering over the PlumX Metrics widget provides a brief visual breakdown of the altmetrics, and clicking on it brings users to the Plum Suite platform for more in-depth information.

Plum analytics screenshot Figure 1

Figure 1

Plum analytics screeshot Figure 2

Figure 2

Why should researchers care?

Traditionally, research or scholarly impact has been measured using a range of different citation metrics, such as journal impact factor or the number of publications that have cited another publication. However, traditional citations metrics are not comprehensive and typically take longer to truly reflect the impact of a publication.

As mentioned above, PlumX metrics are based on altmetrics, which are different than traditional metrics. The concept of altmetrics is fairly new and is a reflection of an increasingly interconnected world. Altmetrics are mainly composed of data gathered from a variety of online tools and environments. Due to this arrangement, most altmetrics are produced quickly and available earlier than traditional metrics. Altmetrics can also provide a greater understanding of how a publication is being used; it can disclose which publications are being read, discussed, saved, and recommended as well as cited. While altmetrics have potential, there are also some limitations preventing their full acceptance alongside traditional citation metrics.

In summary, PlumX metrics harness altmetrics data and provide a simplified, visual indicator of the scholarly and research attention surrounding a particular citation.


For more information about PlumX metrics: http://plumanalytics.com/learn/about-metrics/

For more information about altmetrics: http://libraryguides.mayo.edu/altmetrics

Contributed to LibLog by :

Tara Brigham
Winn Dixie Foundation Medical Library
Mayo Clinic Libraries

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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