The many faces of article-level metrics



Editor's Summary

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) collects a range of alternative metrics about the articles they publish to provide different, more meaningful and granular insights into reader response. PLOS captures usage statistics, social shares, academic bookmarks and both scholarly and non-scholarly citations, all offering distinct types of information. Early interest in an article is more apparent through HTML views and mentions on social sharing sites than usage statistics, and Mendeley bookmarking reflects interest but does not correlate with citation count. An article's appearance in citation databases commonly takes at least two years. Mentions in blogs often stimulate commentary and critique. Instead of presenting only a simplistic citation number, PLOS offers article level metrics (ALM) signposts reflecting ALM that capture the variety of response, audience, timing, purpose and impact of a scientific article.