Citations are not the only way to represent the impact of a research article. Alternative indicators offer a different view of the influence of that work.
A few alternative indicators have been the subjects of web metrics and bibliometrics research for years, including download counts and mentions in patents. However, as scholarly communication moves increasingly online and use of social media becomes ubiquitous, more indicators have become available: how many times an article has been bookmarked, blogged or tweeted about, cited in Wikipedia, shared in Twitter or on Facebook and so on. These metrics can be considered altmetrics – alternative metrics of impact.