Measuring Impact with PlumX Metrics in Digital Commons

Digital Commons offers multiple ways to gain insight about repository usage via the Digital Commons Dashboard, the Readership Activity Map, and more. To track impact beyond downloads and page views, we support two additional tools: PlumX Metrics and Altmetric. This guide is about PlumX Metrics integrated with Digital Commons. To learn more about the requirements for displaying Altmetric badges, please contact Consulting Services.

PlumX Metrics Overview

PlumX Metrics are provided to Digital Commons subscribers at no additional fee, with no DOIs or special setup required. Built-in support makes it easy for administrators and other stakeholders to assess and demonstrate impact for their content. In addition to metrics on article-level pages, administrators also have access to a PlumX Dashboard for their institution. More details on the dashboard are available below on this page and in the Admin Guide (PDF, 957 KB).

When browsing the repository, PlumX Metrics display on Digital Commons article pages by default, in a widget called the Plum Print.

The Plum Print and corresponding detail page allow you and your visitors to survey activity from a variety of online sources, including where a work is published, shared, or referenced.

This data visualization provides a comprehensive set of research metrics in five categories, each represented by a color:

  • Usage (green)
  • Captures (purple)
  • Mentions (yellow)
  • Social media (blue)
  • Citations (orange)

Metrics are drawn from a variety of key sources. Digital Commons downloads are incorporated into total download numbers within the Usage category, and you can view downloads specifically from Digital Commons when clicking into the detail page. SelectedWorks abstract views also appear on the detail page, along with downloads for any full texts that aren’t imported from Digital Commons.

Read more about the categories and their sources on the Plum Analytics website.

Viewing Metrics with the Plum Print

The Plum Print on article pages is dynamic. Each color circle in the Plum Print represents the relative amount of activity in the associated category. The larger the circle, the more metrics in that category. For instance, this Plum Print has greater social media activity than other categories:

When you roll over the Plum Print, more about the activity in each category is visible.

You can also click to view all the detail for the metrics, including sources and citation indexes.

Hiding the Plum Print for a Site or Publication

By default, PlumX Metrics display on the pages of works that have at least one metric in any category. Administrators can control whether PlumX Metrics display by toggling a configuration at the site level or in individual publications.

To hide PlumX Metrics in a publication structure:

  1. On the Configuration tab of a series or other publication, select Hide PlumX Metrics.
  2. Click Submit Changes, then the Update ir_series or equivalent link for your publication type.

If PlumX Metrics are hidden at the site level, it is not necessary to hide them at the publication level.

To hide PlumX Metrics across the repository:

  1. On the site-level Configuration tab, select Hide PlumX Metrics.
  2. Click Submit Changes, then the Update Site link. This will hide the Plum Print widget in all publications regardless of their individual settings.
  3. If the widget is already displaying anywhere, it is necessary to update individual publications to remove the widget from article pages. Contact Consulting Services if you need assistance with updating multiple publications.

PlumX Dashboard

Along with article-level metrics available to all visitors, administrators also have access to a PlumX Dashboard for their institution. Each dashboard has a unique login provided to the site administrator. Please contact Consulting Services if you would like to request a login for your dashboard.

PlumX Dashboards for Digital Commons provide a single location for you to explore all of the PlumX metrics for your repository. Dashboards include several analytics reports plus filtering and sorting options. Full details and instructions for making the most of your dashboard are available in the Admin Guide (PDF, 957 KB).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should I contact with questions about the Plum Print or PlumX Metrics data?

If you have a question about the display of the Plum Print in Digital Commons, please contact Consulting Services. For questions about data or sources, please see Plum Analytics documentation or contact

How can we improve our numbers? Are there any best practices to follow for optimizing our metrics?

One important step is to share article URLs with authors and suggest they link directly to the article page on their website or in their own public posts on social media, blogs, etc., instead of private feeds or walls.

Are DOIs required to enable PlumX Metrics in Digital Commons?

No. Digital Commons repositories are set up to automatically share download counts and open access metadata with Plum Analytics, and to receive article metrics for display.

Why are the bepress download numbers in the Usage category different from the current downloads shown in my Digital Commons Dashboard?

The number of bepress downloads in the PlumX Usage category are subject to daily sync. If you see differences that persist beyond 24 hours, please contact

What is the difference between a PlumX Dashboard that I subscribe to and the free offering from bepress?

The free PlumX Dashboard offering from bepress allows an administrator to view the PlumX Metrics for all of their repository’s contents in one place, filtering and sorting to see which research outputs rise to the top in each PlumX Metric category. In addition, administrators can export the raw metrics for their own analyses.

PlumX Dashboard subscribers have additional features including researcher profiles, custom-defined subgroups, and additional analytic reports. Subscribing administrators can also add/edit/delete research output, profiles, and groups.

Does Digital Commons support Altmetric badges?

Yes. In addition to integrated support for PlumX Metrics, Digital Commons also supports the display of Altmetric badges using customer-provided code. If you are interested in adding Altmetric badges, either alongside or in place of PlumX Metrics, please contact Consulting Services for setup steps.

Print this resource.