This guide provides an introduction to the tools and indicators used for measuring research impact. Some benefits of research impact, and the role it plays in the research evaluation process, include:
HSLS provides educational and advisory services for University of Pittsburgh's health sciences community to support research impact projects and inquires. Here are some examples of how the library can help:
Bibliometrics consists of different quantitative indicators that analyze the impact of scholarly works. Most of these indicators are citation-based with a focus on journal articles. This page covers some of the most commonly used indicators for authors, articles, and journals.
The h-index measures the productivity and citation impact of an author. Its calculation is based on the number of papers (h) that have received at least h citations. Example: an author's h-index is 20. This means that they've published 20 papers that have been cited at least 20 times each.
Look up the h-index in:
Citation counts are the main way of determining the impact of an individual article. In theory, highly cited articles are interpreted as impactful publications. Keep in mind that it takes time to accrue citations and citation patterns are different across disciplines. Google Scholar and Web of Science all keep track of citation counts and are displayed on the search results page.
Other citation-based article indicators include:
Journal indicators, which are based on citation patterns of their articles, can be helpful for finding publications that will give your research greater visibility. However, it's important to understand that these indicators are only one part of journal evaluation process. Use of these indicators for measuring the quality of a journal, as well as the quality of individual authors who publish in them, has been argued against. Read the DORA declaration for more information.
Essential Science Indicators from Clarivate provides citation analysis on authors, journals, institutions, and countries. This can be helpful for adding additional support to CVs, biosketches, grant applications, and more to show:
Altmetrics, short for alternative metrics, are indicators that reflect methods of online interaction and engagement with scholarship. They can compliment bibliometrics by providing a qualitative insight to research impact.
While altmetrics can be used to discover the impact of articles, it can also be used to track other forms of digital scholarship, such as software, datasets, code, and more. Remember to cite data so it can be tracked.
Here are a few other examples of altmetric indicators:
Keep in mind the following limitations when using indicators for research evaluation: