A January 10, 2017 JAMA Viewpoint article looks at Altmetrics. The article makes note that there are over 2.5 million articles published every year and the number of articles in the literature more than doubles every decade. Clearly differentiating the relevant from the irrelevant is crucial.
Typically, the influence of a published article would primarily be measured by its citations, a slow process resulting in a long wait before the importance of an article is truly recognized. Views of the article (including PDF and HTML) are another measure of importance, but views can also accumulate slowly.This is usually measured by impact factor and H-index.
Altmetrics is a word to incorporate “article level metrics” and creates a formula that counts article views, downloads, news media citations, and news media and comes up with a score.
Altmetrics are increasingly recognized tools that aim to measure the real-time reach and influence of an academic article.