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How to measure and increase your research impact: Introduction and Definitions

This libguide is to know how to increase your impact and how to measure your research impact

What is research impact?

What is research impact:

Research impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy.

The assessment of research impact seeks to examine: how many scholars cited the articles, who is citing them, the outcome of the study or research, the impact it had on the researcher and the community.

Academic Impact - New knowledge, new methodologies, new techniques for teaching and learning.

Non-academic - Society and environment, economy, public policy.


Bibliometrics are the use of quantitative tools to study publications and other written materials.

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 the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship.


Metrics can be useful to raise personal research profiles, raise research institutes profiles, shows impacts in a quantifiable way such as grant applications, annual reports, and personal evaluations, identify the way research is used for other scientific researchers, find new research partners and share information and knowledge.

Types of Metrics

Traditional Metrics:

Measure impact by counting citations using databases as Scopus or Web of science. Methods for traditional metrics citation analysis, H-index, Journal impact factor, field weighted impact score, Eigenfactor.

Alternative metrics for societal impact and relevance:

Altmetrics is a new method of measuring impact, it goes beyond citations in journals, it also measures social media, blogs, bookmarks, news media, in policy documents, and the number of downloads.

Tools for measuring Societal impact:

Societal impact and Societal attention of publications. Researchers can use altmetric Explorer to find out where the research gets mentioned in blogs, press, social media, and citation management tools such as Mendeley.

Societal relevance. This method uses policy themes such as sustainable development goals instead of research fields.

Why is it important?

Why is research impact important?

  • Support applications for tenure or promotion
  • Justify requests for grants and other funding
  • Quantify, and determine how their research is being used
  • Identify other researchers or institutions that are using their work
  • Identify other researchers and/or potential collaborators in their field.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Each and every measuring tool has it's own advantages and disadvantages, but in general they are:

Citations take time accrue.

Comparing citations are only useful when comparing researchers in the same field of research, or same level in career stages.

The citations count depend on the database content, databases does not list all publications.

Journal articles are the most item types available in databases others like conference proceedings, books,....etc are not included much.

Some databases focus on special topics other than others, like Scopus focuses on humanities and social sciences.


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