Knowing that there are some members of hiring committees here, I am hoping for some insights.

Having read Rise of Altmetrics, I started to wonder what would be the best way to measure the impact on my publications. I do care for many reasons but one of the reasons is to impress others enough to be able to get a job/promotion/tenure.

So, my question is, do hiring committees take alternative metrics (Facebook likes, mentions in blog posts, etc.) seriously when trying to measure the impact of someone's work or are other issues like impact factor more important?

This question is related but is more about measuring the impact of a journal but my concern is measuring the impact of my own work (which might be in several journals).

This question is also related by asking how impact measurements affect job prospects and has some excellent answers but my question is specifically about 'unofficial' metrics like tweets, downloads on SlideShare, etc.

This question is also related asking how to measure readership of journal articles but my question is whether alternative measures are taking into serious consideration but those making hiring/tenure decisions.

I know there is the h-index (with its own flaws) but that seems to measure my publications as one unit (all publications taken together, therefore measuring me overall). I'm more interested in measuring the impact publication by publication in order to show an improving trend.

On a side note, it seems that there is a general feeling that a publication in a high impact factor journal equals a high impact publication. This feels a little off to me since one might convince the editor their work is important while at the same time fail to convince their academic community of the same.

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    I have not sat on a hiring committee for a higher education faculty position, but I would avoid putting soft alternative metrics on application material. If I was on a committee and saw that someone listed Facebook likes on his CV, I would think it was odd (possibly unprofessional?), and I would wonder why he felt it necessary (i.e., is he trying to bolster a poor record?). Jun 7, 2013 at 8:37
  • Alternative metrics might be suspicious to people that are not familiar with them. If you want to show that your recent work had a lot of impact, why not just add a statement like "my recent 2 papers, which were published 2 years ago, have already been cited more than 500 times"?
    – Bitwise
    Jun 10, 2013 at 0:56
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    @Bitwise There is no question about citations. My question is based on the idea in article linked above.
    – earthling
    Jun 10, 2013 at 2:23
  • @earthling in the end, these alternative metrics quantify some form of citation, what changes is usually the method of quantification and the definition of a citation (e.g. a loose definition could include social media tags and blogging). The h-index that you mentioned is also based on citations. I just think it is more straightforward to give the actual numbers rather than some metric that aggregates them into a statistic.
    – Bitwise
    Jun 10, 2013 at 2:49

2 Answers 2


I served on a hiring committee in mathematics at a research university in the United States, and I don't believe that any of us paid attention to the sort of metrics you describe.

My personal inclination is that I would not recommend listing any of this information unless it is unusually notable, e.g., if someone particularly well known blogged extensively about your work. However, different countries, universities, and departments might operate differently.

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    I think the "unusually notable" is good - if Paul Krugman's blog featured your work as The Thing That will Change Economics Forever? Maybe mention it. Random blogger things your nifty? Maybe not.
    – Fomite
    Jun 13, 2013 at 4:00

If altmetrics such as the number of Facebook likes, the number of mentions in blog posts, etc. would be considered as a measure of impact and rewarded by hiring committees, then scientists would have significant incentives to increase their altmetrics. Such altmetrics are very easily manipulable (e.g., by creating fake Facebook accounts, fake blog posts, automating downloads), so once they will start to be artificially increased their relevance for estimating impact would disappear.

I have not heard about altmetrics being taken seriously by hiring committees, and given the argument above it is likely that it will not happen in the future, neither.

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    This is more of a comment than an answer.
    – Kimball
    Jun 23, 2015 at 14:38

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