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Measuring Your Research Impact: Home

Introduction to the Guide

This guide introduces resources that describe, utilize, and support the current research landscape. 

Considerations of the roles of author, content, sources, impact, reputation, rankings, and benchmarking are increasingly important in analyzing contributions to the research life cycle.

Information here is organized by the different methods of impact that the research landscape is defined by:

Tools are promoted that can be used to engage in research metrics.  Since the landscape is constantly changing, Emerging Metrics are also explored.

Recommended Methods

Some recommended methods of research impact and citation metrics are detailed in the pages of this guide:



Limitations of citation metrics:

  • Current cause of concern articulated by scientists in this article about the role of impact factors in determining merits of science and scientists
  • Errors on citing papers can lead to separate entries and missed counts.
  • Author and institutional naming inconsistencies can lead to separate entries and missed counts.
  • Different databases use different sources to generate data and some are more comprehensive than others.
  • Tools are skewed towards the STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) communities of scholars.
  • Citations do not measure the number of readings of a work.
  • Citations are not the only indicators of the importance of a work.

Why Are We Talking About Impact?

Among other things, awareness of your scholarly impact can help you:

  • Strengthen your case when applying for promotion or tenure
  • Include in visa applications as an international scholar
  • Quantify return on research investment for grant renewals and progress reports
  • Strengthen future funding requests by showing the value of your research
  • Understand your audience and learn how to appeal to them
  • Identify who is using your work and confirm that it is appropriately credited
  • Identify collaborators within or outside of your subject area
  • Manage your scholarly reputation

Research Impacts Using Metrics

Image credit: "Metric" CC-BY-ND 2.0 Christina Welsh on Flickr

  • Research impact is a measure of the significance and importance of academic work within a scholarly community.
  • Bibliometrics are the use of quantitative tools to study publications and other written material.
  • Citation metrics focus on the statistical patterns and measurements of citations.
  • Citation analysis can be used as a quantifiable measure of academic output and research impact, which can help inform decisions on publication, promotion, and tenure.
  • Altmetrics is increasingly becoming an alternative and important method of measuring the impact of scholarly and other output and allows for social media tracking by various indicators such as number of tweets, blog posts, likes, bookmarks, etc. and are more timely wider-ranging measures of how peopleboth other researchers and the general public have demonstrated interested in an individual's work and contributions. 

This guide is designed to help faculty members, graduate students and librarians use and understand the citation analysis tools available to us. At UC San Diego there is access to some of the major resources used for citation metrics. For example, to obtain an Impact Factor (IF) you could consult the following tools -- Web of Science, Journal Citation Reports and Google Scholar. Descriptions of and guides to these tools can be accessed using the above drop-down menu, organized according to need.

Tools and methods of citation analysis are used to determine:

  • How many times a publication or author has been cited
  • Who is citing a publication or author
  • A journal's impact factor (relative importance in a field or discipline)
  • An author's published output ranking in a field or discipline.

Because of the limitations of each method, it is important to use multiple methods, sources, and tools to get a fuller and more complete analysis.  Increasingly, the research community is studying how to assess the value of cooperation and collaboration among colleagues, scholars and scientists, with barriers being reduced and geography more global.  New metrics and values will likely emerge through different sources, to complement and extend already existing methods and products.




Scholarly Communication at the UC San Diego Library


We used the UCI guide that was initially prepared by Laine Thielstrom and the guide by UCB's Rachel Samberg.

Recent Workshop on Measuring and Communicating Your Scholarly Impact

Workshop Description:
Scholars and researchers, academic departments, and universities increasingly are asked to explain the impact of their research to external funders and to measure themselves against their peers. Tracking citations and attempting to measure research impact isn’t new, but in recent years the number of available tools has grown significantly. In this workshop, you will learn about these available metrics tools, both “traditional” (like Web of Science) and “alternative” (like Altmetric), how to incorporate these into the telling the story of your research impact, and learn some of the ways you can increase your visibility as a scholar. We’ll cover impact metrics for a variety of research and scholarly works, from journal articles and books to datasets.

Please contact us to schedule a special session for you or your department.

Related LibGuide: Measuring your Research Impact
20180503_METRICS_WORKSHOP_TV_attendees_copy by Teri Vogel