Traditional citation counting for evaluating scholarly impact unfairly benefits those in North America and Europe and shortchanges the alternative scholars of the developing world. Alternative metrics more accurately measure the impact of scholarly writings, better serve all scholars and can foster a research culture that supports national development goals. The current system favors dominant journals and topics of interest to the prevailing scientific community, captured by the leading bibliographic databases. Yet publishing on platforms more open to underrepresented journals and scholars in developing nations would promote a greater range of ideas and scholarly exchange. With facilitating international development in mind, scholarly communication should encourage research on topics of local and national relevance and be presented through globally accessible channels, disseminated by social media. Publishing technology barriers to participation must be lowered. The value of altmetrics will be evident, providing advantages to alternative scholars, serving public needs and revealing scientific contributions long underrepresented in the standard literature.