Alternative metrics have been used as a complement to traditional metrics as tools to track the uses and social attention to scientific publications in the online environment. Open access scientific journals are potentially more likely to be shared and read by the public on social media. In this scenario, the scientific output of Brazil and Latin America, like those indexed in the SciELO database, which brings together relevant and open access scientific journals from the region, could benefit from altmetrics. However, analyzes of the representativeness of countries, languages and fields of knowledge in altmetrics reveal that the indicators need to be improved to value science in developing, non-English speaking, open access countries and national or regional relevance. This paper points out the limitations of altmetrics for science in Latin America, by analyzing the social media behavior of scholars and society, the presence of different languages to share articles, as well as the data that generate altmetrics, such as the ones produced by the British data provider Altmetric.com. Altmetrics have not been able to portray the attention that Brazilian scientific papers have received in social media, despite the efforts made by journals to disseminate science and engage with the public. It is necessary to expand data collection on Facebook, of contents and channels in Portuguese and Spanish, as well as to expand data collection of blogs and news outlets in the region.
Altmetrics; Open access; Scholarly communication; Science communication; Social media