Linux build: Build Status
Windows build: Build status # rAltmetric

This package provides a way to programmatically retrieve altmetric data from for any publication with the appropriate identifer. The package is really simple to use and only has two major functions: One (altmetrics()) to download metrics and another (altmetric_data()) to extract the data into a data.frame. It also includes generic S3 methods to plot/print metrics for any altmetric object.

Questions, features requests and issues should go here. General comments to

Installing the package

A stable version is available from CRAN. To install


Development version

# If you don't already have the devtools library, first run

# then install the package
install_github('rAltmetric', 'ropensci')

Quick Tutorial

Obtaining metrics

There was a recent paper by Acuna et al that received a lot of attention on Twitter. What was the impact of that paper?

acuna <- altmetrics('10.1038/489201a')
> acuna
Altmetrics on: "Future impact: Predicting scientific success" with doi 10.1038/489201a (altmetric_id: 942310) published in Nature.
  provider count
1    Feeds     9
2  Google+     1
3    Cited   174
4   Tweets   157
5 Accounts   167


To obtain the metrics in tabular form for further processing, run any object of class altmetric through altmetric_data() to get data that can easily be written to disk as a spreadsheet.

> altmetric_data(acuna)
1 Future impact: Predicting scientific success
              doi   nlmid            altmetric_jid     issns
1 10.1038/489201a 0410462 4f6fa50a3cf058f610003160 0028-0836
  journal altmetric_id schema is_oa cited_by_feeds_count
1  Nature       942310  1.5.4 FALSE                  173
  cited_by_gplus_count cited_by_posts_count
1                  173                  173
  cited_by_tweeters_count cited_by_accounts_count   score
1                     156                     166 184.598
  mendeley connotea citeulike pub sci com doc
1        0        0        11  62  84   6   8
    added_on published_on subjects scopus_subjects
1 1347471425   1347404400  science         General
  last_updated readers_count X1 count_all count_journal
1   1348828350            11  1    754555         13972
  count_similar_age_1m count_similar_age_3m
1                22408                56213
  count_similar_age_journal_1m count_similar_age_journal_3m
1                          508                         1035
  rank_all rank_journal rank_similar_age_1m
1   754043        13759               22339
  rank_similar_age_3m rank_similar_age_journal_1m
1               56074                         459
  rank_similar_age_journal_3m pct_all pct_journal
1                         947   99.93       98.48
  pct_similar_age_1m pct_similar_age_3m
1              99.69              99.75
  pct_similar_age_journal_1m pct_similar_age_journal_3m
1                      90.35                      91.50

You can save these data into a clean spreadsheet format:

acuna_data <- altmetric_data(acuna)
write.csv(acuna_data, file = 'acuna_altmetrics.csv')


For any altmetric object you can quickly plot the stats with a generic plot function. The plot overlays the altmetric badge and the score on the top right corner. If you prefer a customized plot, create your own with the raw data generated from almetric_data()

> plot(acuna)
stats for Acuna's paper

stats for Acuna's paper

Gathering metrics for many DOIs

For a real world use-case, one might want to get metrics on multiple publications. If so, just read them from a spreadsheet and llply through them like the example below.

# Be sure to update the path if the example csv is not in your working dir
doi_data <- read.csv('dois.csv', header = TRUE)

> doi_data
1        10.1038/nature09210
2    10.1126/science.1187820
3 10.1016/j.tree.2011.01.009
4             10.1086/664183

# First, let's retrieve the metrics.
raw_metrics <- llply(doi_data$doi, function(x) altmetrics(doi = x), .progress = 'text')
# Now let's pull the data together.
metric_data <- ldply(raw_metrics, altmetric_data)
# Finally we save this to a spreadsheet for further analysis/vizualization.
write.csv(metric_data, file = "metric_data.csv")

Further reading

To cite package ‘rAltmetric’ in publications use:

  Karthik Ram (2012). rAltmetric: Retrieves altmerics data for any
  published paper from R package version 0.3.

A BibTeX entry for LaTeX users is

    title = {rAltmetric: Retrieves altmerics data for any published paper from},
    author = {Karthik Ram},
    year = {2012},
    note = {R package version 0.3},
    url = {},