Article-level metrics

Researchers, funders and institutions are increasingly concerned about the impact and return-on-investment of their work. Article-level metrics are designed to help authors assess this by providing a better understanding of the reach of an article or published research, and the attention it is receiving online. Oxford University Press now provides access to the number of online views of each article, the number of citations to each article, and the Altmetric score of each article. These metrics can be accessed by clicking on the ‘View Metrics’ link on each article web page.

Article usage data

Citation count

Altmetric data

The Altmetric score

Altmetric for authors

Missing Altmetric mentions

Article usage data

The ‘Total Views’ metric indicates the number of times an article has been viewed on the Oxford Academic Platform in the time period shown. This metric is the sum of ‘Pageviews’ which are views of the full-text web page version, and ‘PDF Downloads’ which are views of the full-text PDF version.

Note that ‘Total Views’ can be inflated by non-human agents. ‘Total Views’ can likewise be increased by multiple views from the same user.

Citation count

The ‘Citations’ metric is the number of citations attributed to the article in the ‘Web of Science Core Collection’ database. Clicking the link will take you to a list of citing articles on the external Web of Science website.

Altmetric data

The traditional methods of counting citations and downloads to measure impact misses much, not least the reception to published research amongst wider society. As a result, there has been a desire in the scholarly community to gain a better understanding of the reach and attention a paper receives beyond the academic sphere.

‘Altmetrics’, or alternative metrics, have evolved to help answer those questions by tracking and collating mentions and shares of academic research papers and other outputs (such as datasets) across traditional and social media outlets, blogs, public policy documents, post-publication peer-review forums and online reference managers.

Altmetric data is available across all articles published on the Oxford Journals platform. Visitors to the site can click on the Altmetric donut to see a detailed breakdown of the online engagement an individual article has received to date, outside of traditional biblometrics.

Altmetric LLP, who provide the data, collect article level metrics and the online conversations around research papers by tracking a selection of online indicators (both scholarly and non-scholarly) to give a measurement of digital impact and reach. ‘Mentions’ that contain links to any version of the same paper are picked up, and collated. The result is the Altmetric score.

The Altmetric score

The score is a quantitative measure of the attention that a scholarly article has received, and is displayed in the centre of the donut icon. The score is derived from three main factors:

  • Volume: the score for an article rises as more people mention it.
  • Sources: each category of mention contributes a different base amount to the final score.
  • Authors: how often the author of each mention talks about scholarly articles influences the contribution of the mention.

The resulting score is displayed as a ‘donut’. The different coloured bands in the ring-shaped donut icon represent the various sources the article has mentions from – blue for twitter, yellow for blogs, red for mainstream media sources, and so on. For a more detailed breakdown of results, showing all mentions and analytics from across Twitter, the blogosphere, mainstream media outlets, Facebook, and Google+, simply click the ‘See more details’ link below the donut. By doing so users will be able to:

See the attention that each article is receiving from non-traditional sources, including;

  • mainstream and social media
  • published policy documents
  • online reference managers
  • post-publication peer-review forums
  • Explore the conversations surrounding the content
  • Identify recent papers your peers think are interesting

Online demographics are also available via this link, so users can see which parts of the world mentions are coming from.

Altmetric for authors

Altmetrics can be useful to researchers who are keen to build their online presence, demonstrate the broader impacts of their work, and increase their chances of receiving grant funding. To make the most of the data around your articles you might like to:

  • Use the Altmetric details page to identify coverage and wider dissemination of your research that you can evidence in CVs or funding applications.
  • See who is talking about your research – identify potential new collaborators and build relationships with key influencers.
  • Monitor other research in your field, and know how it has been received amongst a broader audience.
  • Manage your online reputation – respond to commentary about your work and actively engage with the conversation.

Additionally, you might wish to:

  • Sign up for Altmetric email alerts: You can sign up to be notified when an article receives a new mention online (don’t worry – you’ll only get one email a day, no matter how many mentions it gets in that day). Simply visit the Altmetric page linked from ‘Show more details’ to do so.
  • Improve your Altmetric score: Read this Altmetric blog article for some ideas and tips.
  • Add your Altmetric score to your own website: You can display your article’s Altmetric score on your personal website or blog, or on your departmental or society webpages, by following these instructions.

Missing Altmetric mentions

If you spot any mentions missing for a paper, please use this form to report this to Altmetric, who will review your suggestions and add them where applicable. You can find more information about why some mentions may not have been picked up here.

Source: Oxford Academic Journals


How to Write a Humane Rejection Letter: Advice from a Journal Editor

Dear readers,

Writing rejection letters is never easy. As hard as it is for authors to receive adverse manuscript decisions, it can be equally difficult for editors to continually craft manuscript rejections throughout their day. Whether responding to desk-reject submissions or to submissions that have gone through one or multiple rounds of peer review, all editors have to find a constructive approach to writing rejection letters that works for them.

“It’s always hard to write rejections,” said Anita Harris, managing editor of SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism. “I’ve been on the receiving end of those letters and it can be painful.”

Harris, who sends all of the rejection letters for her journal, said that while turning down submissions remains one of the hardest parts of her job it doesn’t have to be entirely bad. She brings her perspective as a researcher and author to all of the submissions decisions she writes and aims to give authors helpful insights that they can use to improve their future submissions. Below we outline some of Harris’ top tips for writing a more humane rejection letter.

Provide an editor explanation

As a best practice, Harris said it is paramount that journals include explanations for manuscript rejections in all of their decision letters to authors. These comments should come from the perspective of the editor who made the final manuscript decision. “You would never send a flat out rejection letter,” said Harris.

In their decison letter comments, Harris said editors should make a point to show all of the authors they respond to that their submissions were read closely and that the editor or editors who reviewed them took the time to understand and fully consider the submission. With regard to outlining the reasons for their decision to reject a submission, Harris said editors should focus on using clear language and referencing concrete facts. Editors should avoid writing blanket statements above all else, as they can seem more emotional than analytical and cause authors to feel like their submissions weren’t given fair consideration.

Harris said incorporating comprehensive editor explanations into rejection letters can be especially important for journals that charge submissions fees. “If authors have to pay money upfront and then get a rejection before their manuscript has been externally reviewed, at the very least they are going to want to have a reason for that rejection,” she said.

Send useful referee comments

At SubStance Harris said the desk and peer-reviewed rejection letters she sends authors are basically one in the same expect for one component, reviewer comments. “All of the peer-reviewed rejection letters have a field below the editor’s signature that allows for comments,” she said.

When it comes to sharing reviewer insights, Harris said she leans towards giving authors more information than less. “I send all reader comments as long as they’re constructive and they’re not too redundant,” she said. While some journals only send excerpts of reviewer notes, Harris said she believes it can be more beneficial to authors to give them the full picture of what reviewers had to say.

“I think most writers or academics would like to get that kind of feedback,” she explained. “If you choose to submit somewhere else it helps to have that range of reviewer feedback so you can improve your manuscript.”

Of course, if you choose to give authors full reviewer comments, Harris said it’s important to take precautions before sending out your final decision letters.

“As the person who writes the rejection letters, you do sometimes have to soften the language reviewers use or make it more formal in tone,” she said. “Occasionally reviewers will include things in their write-up that are clearly not meant for the reader.”

Harris said in her experience she’s always been able to find a way to structure reviewer comments in a positive light, but that if she were to come across an unconstructive review she would look to the reviewer for help.

“If I just couldn’t work with the reviewer comments I would look to them and ask ‘what can I say to the author that will be constructive?’”

Harris said in her opinion, providing detailed feedback in all rejection letters is an essential responsibility of academic journals. Incorporating editor and reviewer comments into decision letters can help authors of underdeveloped manuscripts learn, grow, and make future contributions to the academic community.

“I think that’s one of the functions of journals; it’s not just about what serves the journal but what serves the academic community at large,” she said.

Be definitive but appreciative

All editors face the challenge of crafting rejection letters that give authors constructive feedback on their submissions but also make it clear to them that rejection decisions are final. Harris said editors should look to find a balance between both of these aims, keeping in mind that the tone and structure of their comments can have a big impact on how authors interpret them.

“You really try to make it as painless as possible, while at the same time making it firm enough where it’s closing the door,” she said.

In her decision letters Harris said she is always explicit and upfront about rejections, but also always makes a point to thank authors for taking the time to submit to the journal. When she provides editor and reviewer comments Harris said she is sure to present them as something she hopes the author will find beneficial. “I make sure to introduce the comments by telling authors I am including them in hopes they might be helpful. I think putting the letters together that way hopefully softens the blow,” she said.

In her experience, Harris said framing rejection letters in a useful way can turn a negative author experience into something positive. “I’ve actually had authors write me back to say thank you,” she said. “It’s always nice for myself and the other editors when that happens, it’s nice to know we’re helping people.”

Source: Scholastica