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Measuring and Broadening Your Research Impact

Introduction

This guide is designed to bring information, tools, tips and and tutorials on measuring and broadening your research impact together in one place. Citation analysis (a type of bibliometrics) provides one way of examining the impact of a particular article or other type research product (e.g., data set, conference paper, patent). Journal impact factors (JIFs) are one way of looking at the relative importance of a journal within a particular field. Neither method is without limitations, however. Some cautions include:

  • Citation analysis is only one of the quantitative indicators that may be used to determine research impact. Others may include:publication counts; amount of research income; number of PhD students; size of research group; umber of PI projects; views and downloads of online outputs; and number of patents and licenses obtained.
  • The ability to apply it and its importance in the overall assessment of research varies between disciplines.

Further caveats are that: seminal research is often taken for granted and not cited; negative citations - those critical of a work - are counted as valid citations; and the system can be manipulated by such means as self-citation, multiple authorship, splitting outputs into many articles and publishing in journals favoring highly cited review articles..

Nevertheless, citation analysis is often a big part of what is considered for promotion, tenure and grant funding - and Journal Impact Factor is often considered when searching for a publishing venue that offers high visibility and citation rate.

To begin....

Before you begin to delve into the various citation metrics, we recommend you do the following three things (more on the below is found in the Broadening Your Impact page of this guide:

  • Sign up for an ORCID Identifier:  The Open Researcher Community ID is an increasingly recognized persistent digital identifier.  The unique number assigned to you will allow publishers and aggregators of scholarly literature to distinguish you from researchers with similar names.  This is a powerful tool in author disambiguation and it takes just a few minutes to sign up. 

  • Get a ResearcherID with Web of Science:  A ResearcherID can be linked to your ORCID number and facilitates citation metrics and publication tracking using Web of Science tools.  With a ResearcherID, you will be included in the Web of Knowledge author index allowing other researchers to learn more about your work and affiliations.  Sign up here.
  • Create a Google Scholar Citations Profile:  Google scholar citations allows authors to track citations to their scholarly works and to calculate numerous citation metrics based on Google Scholar citation data.  By setting up a profile, you will be able to disambiguate yourself from authors with the same or similar names. Google Scholar Citations is a citation service provided free of charge.  It is easy to set up, especially if you already have a Google account.  Like other citation tracking services, it tracks academic articles, but it also counts theses, book titles and other documents towards author citation metrics.