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Logo of ImpactStory.
Available in English
Created by Jason Priem, Heather Piwowar
Launched 2011[1]
Current status Online

ImpactStory is an open source, web-based tool that provides altmetrics to help researchers measure and share the impacts of all their research outputs—from traditional ones such as journal articles, to alternative research outputs such as blog posts, datasets, and software.[2] It aims to change the focus of the scholarly reward system to value and encourage web-native scholarship. ImpactStory is a nonprofit organisation funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation [3] and the National Science Foundation.[4]


ImpactStory follows open practices with its data (to the extent allowed by providers' terms of service), code,[5] and governance.[6]

It provides context to its metrics so that they are meaningful without knowledge of the specific dataset: for example, instead of letting the reader guess whether having five forks on GitHub is common, ImpactStory would tell that the repository is in the 95th percentile of all GitHub repositories created that year.[7]

The metrics provided by ImpactStory can be used by researchers who want to know how many times their work has been downloaded and shared,[8] and also research funders who are interested in the impact of research beyond only considering citations to journal articles.


One of the solutions ImpactStory developed is Unpaywall, a Google Chrome and Firefox browser extension,[9] which find free versions of (paywalled) articles.[10] In July 2018 it was reported to provide free access to 20 million articles,[1] and about 47% of the articles that people search with Unpaywall.[11] The underlying data is used by Clarivate Analytics in Web of Science to provide free access to literature in that database.[12] In July 2018, it was announced that Unpaywall has been awarded a grant of $850,000 by Arcadia.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b Else, Holly (15 August 2018). "How Unpaywall is transforming open science". Nature. 560 (7718): 290–291. doi:10.1038/D41586-018-05968-3.
  2. ^ Priem, Jason; Heather Piwowar (25 September 2012). "The launch of ImpactStory: using altmetrics to tell data-driven stories". Impact of Social Sciences. LSE. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  3. ^ "About". ImpactStory. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  4. ^ "ImpactStory awarded $300k NSF grant!". ImpactStory. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  5. ^ "ImpactStory total-impact". GitHub. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Sloan Foundation grant submitted". ImpactStory blog. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  7. ^ "ImpactStory adds figshare integration". Research Information. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  8. ^ Eisen, Jonathan (29 November 2012). "Playing with Impact Story to look at Alt Metrics for my papers, data, etc". The Tree of Life. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  9. ^ Coldewey, Devin. "Unpaywall scours the web for free versions of scientific papers". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  10. ^ Chawla, Dalmeet Singh (4 April 2017). "Unpaywall finds free versions of paywalled papers". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2017.21765.
  11. ^ Doctorow, Cory. "Unpaywall: a search-engine for authorized, freely accessible versions of scholarly journal articles / Boing Boing".
  12. ^ "Clarivate Analytics announces landmark partnership with Impactstory to make open access content easier for researchers to use". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Research Tools: Arcadia Awards Impactstory (Providers of Unpaywall), Internet Archive, and British Library $850,000 Grant to Build a Free, AI-Powered Search Engine of Open Access Scholarly Articles". LJ infoDOCKET. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  14. ^ "Get The Research with Unpaywall & Arcadia Fund". How To Get The PDF : Tools & News. 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2018-08-16.

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