Editor's Summary

Since the 1960s citation counts have been the standard for judging scholarly contributions and status, but growing awareness of the strategy's limitations should lead to acceptance of alternative metrics. Citation analysis drawbacks include lack of timeliness, self citation and citations that are superfluous, negative and incomplete, and traditional counts reflect only a small fraction of actual usage. A better categorization of scholarly impact would cover usage, captures, mentions and social media in addition to citations. Metrics should include mentions in blogs and other nontraditional formats, open review forums, electronic book downloads, library circulation counts, bookmarks, tweets and more. Such alternative metrics provide a more complete view of peer response to scholarly writings and better demonstrate the relative position of a research grant applicant and potential for influential work. Altmetrics are readily available, and their value for evaluating scholarly work should be recognized.