Can apply to: Primarily journal articles
Metric definition: The number of mainstream online news and magazine outlets that reference a research output
Metric calculation: Counts are determined by the number of news outlets that reference a specific research output. Metric sources use a variety of methods for recognizing and tracking mentions, such as searching for hyperlinks in news reports and full text searching.
Data sources: Full-text news reports and RSS feeds from online news outlets and magazines. The specific sources and scope of coverage vary by the metric source, especially for non-English-language news outlets.
Appropriate use cases: News media mentions can demonstrate the reach and attention paid to research, particularly if the source is high profile (e.g. The Economist) or regionally relevant (e.g. Al Jazeera). The type of citing sources (e.g. trade magazines versus widely circulated newspapers) can be used to demonstrate potential engagement with specialized and public audiences.
Limitations: Media coverage of research and scientific findings may be skewed towards popular and novel topics, as well as the discipline and type of study being reported (Selvaraj, Borkar & Prasad, 2014; Lai & Lane, 2009).
Inappropriate use cases: News media mentions should not be used as a direct measure of quality or impact.
Transparency: The transparency of news source coverage depends upon the metric provider. Both Altmetric and PlumX provide click through access to the full text of cited media mentions.
Timeframe: Most metric sources began tracking data in 2011 or later; therefore, data is more readily available for recent publications.