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Tracking your Research  

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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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?

Research Consultations

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.


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


Data that is used for measuring research impact includes:

Researcher metrics

  • Number of times a researcher is cited
  • Number of publications

Article Metrics

  • Number of times an article is cited
  • Altmetrics (e.g. page views, downloads and blog post about an article)

Journal metrics

  • 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

Further reading

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 

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

Research Information Network. (2010). Managing research data: a guide to biocuration [Factsheet]. Retrieved from


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