Why measure research impact?
Quantitative methods such as citation counts, journal impact factors and researcher specific metrics such as the h-index provide one means of measuring research impact.
These research metrics can be used:
- to support applications for grant funding
- to support applications for promotion
- by a researcher to maintain their own research profile
- in Department and Faculty reviews and National Assessment exercises such as ERA
Research impact can also be demonstrated qualitatively in terms of social and cultural applications and measures of esteem: ARC Research Impact Principles and Framework
Metrics measuring research impact include:
- Number of times a researcher is cited
- Number of publications
- Number of times an article is cited
- Altmetrics (eg page views, downloads and blog posts about an article)
- Number of articles published in a journal each year
- Number of journals in a subject area
- Half-life of journals
- Cited half-life of journals
Issues to consider
Citation counts can be affected in a number of other ways:
- No single source is comprehensive.
- Publication dates may affect your results.
- Frequency of a journal may affect results.
- Highly cited articles don't always mean excellent research, esteem must also be taken in to account
- Research measures across disciplines may differ
Abbot, A. ...[et al]. (2010). Metrics: do metrics matter? Nature 465, 860-862. doi: 10.1038/465860a
CORDIS (2011-2014) ACUMEN (Academic Careers Understood through Measurement and Norms) [Research project ] Retrieved from http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/97240_en.html
Bornmann, L. (2013). What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? a literature review. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 64,2 p. 217-233. doi: 10.1002/asi.22803
Donovan, C. (2011). State of the art in assessing research impact: introduction to a special issue. Research Evaluation 20,3 p. 175-179. doi: 10.3152/095820211X13118583635918
Lancho-Barrantes, B.S. (2010). What lies behind the averages and significance of citation indicators in different disciplines? Journal of Information Science 36,3 p371-382. doi: 10.1177/0165551510366077
The purpose of this guide
This guide presents the tools that are available to measure the quantitative and qualitative impact of research; as well as how to track researcher impact.
How do I learn more about research impact?
Questions about Research Metrics?
Contact your Research Librarians for assistance with:
- assessing your research impact
- using and comparing results from databases such as Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar
- identifying highly ranked journals in your field
MyRI - Measuring your Research Impact. A collaborative project of four Irish academic libraries producing a set of materials to support bibliometrics training.
For assistance with research impact in the context of academic promotion at Macquarie, please visit the Academic Promotions page.