APTA Pelvic Health | Altmetrics and Extending the Reach of Scholarly Content | JWHPT Social Media Engagement, Part 2

Go to: JWHPT Social Media Engagement Series – Part One

By nature, social media provides a platform for easily consumable and accessible information. Consider looking back to Part One of the JWHPT Social Media Engagement Series in which we discuss The Value of Social Media for Professional Engagement. Value aside, it is important to delineate if scholarly information is clinically relevant. How can we know which information is impactful to those in the field? It is imperative that there is a way to understand the value and magnitude of online evidenced based content in a real-time manner. 

The purpose of this post is to shed light on the concept of altmetrics and its implications. Through understanding altmetrics, researchers and consumers will better understand how to extend the reach of scholarly content. 

You’ve probably seen a colorful figure in the top right corner of your screen, as pictured above. What you are looking at is a visual composite of the articles’ metrics, or altmetrics. Altmetrics are measurements of user engagement with online publications. In Time to Get Social!, Editor-in-Chief, Cynthia M. Chiarello, PT, PhD, defines altmetrics: “Altmetrics, which literally means alternative metrics to conventional indexing, measures engagement and impact of scientific publication using social media indicators.” (Chiarello, 2018). Altmetric data can provide information about the volume and nature of attention that research receives online. (Altmetric, 2018). For example, altmetrics can provide information such as how often the publication is cited or how often it is mentioned in discussions on social networks. By referring to the altmetrics, clinicians, researchers, and students can stay up to date on trending research and understand the magnitude of attention and impact evidence-based literature is receiving. 

For a deeper dive, we recommend you take a look at “What Are Altmetrics?”.

With a real-time method to gain metrics for publications on social media, it is now relevant for those deseminating research or engaging in scholarly discussions to do so on social media platforms rather than through databases and journals alone. Chiarello states, “Research is recognized to have influence when it produces noticeable and quantifiable benefits beyond academia”. Social media platforms are arguably the answer for scientists and professionals alike to extend the reach of their scholarly content. 



  1. “APTA Pelvic Health Blog: The Value of Social Media for Professional Engagement.” APTA Pelvic Health, 4 Sept. 2020,
  2. Chiarello, Cynthia M. Time to Get Social! Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy. 2019; 43(4):157-158. doi: 10.1097/JWH.0000000000000154 JWHPT Online
  3. “What Are Altmetrics?” Altmetric, 17 Dec. 2018,
  4. Zheng H, Aung HH, Erdt M, Peng TQ, Raamkumar AS, Theng YL. Social media presence of scholarly journals. J Assoc Inf Sci Technol. 2019;70(3):256–270. doi:10.1002/asi.24124.
  5. McNamara P, Usher K. Share or parish: social media and the international journal of mental health nursing. Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2019;28:960–970. doi:10.1111/inm.12600.
  6. Hayon S, Tripathi H, Stormont IM, Dunne MM, Naslund MJ, Siddiqui MM. Twitter mentions and academic citations in the urologic literature. Urology. 2019;123(1):28–33. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2018.08.041.
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