Measuring your academic impact

There are a various ways that you can measure and track the academic impact of your research outputs.   These fall into the two categories below:

Citation analysis
Citations  have traditionally been seen as an indication that the cited work is being used to advance the research of others and can therefore be considered an indication of impact.  Arguably, they could be more appropriately seen as an indication of academic attention. Citation analysis tries to provide measures of impact based on the attention articles or researchers have received in terms of the citations to them.

  • It is usually  interesting to track citations to your work to find out more about the documents which have cited your work, analyse the citing documents and be alerted to any new citations to your work.
  • You may see Citation counts being used to help determine the impact of a particular article
  • Your h-index can be used to measure your impact in terms of the citations to your body of work or you can find the h-index of another researcher.

In the last few years altmetrics have become available.  These can help toward measuring attention before citations are likely to happen and can give a wider picture beyond the academic literature.  Altmetrics are measures of article views & downloads, social media mentions, news mentions and captures & shares on tools such as Mendeley.

Responsible use of metrics
It is important to understand the limitations of any bibliometrics you use and to use them for appropriate purposes. For example:

  • it is  considered illegitimate to use journal levels bibliometrics to evaluate the productivity of individual researchers, or the quality of particular articles published in the journals
  • it is recommended to use a number of different metrics (not rely on just one)
  • it is important to use qualitative analysis in your judgements of journals and research outputs not just the quantitative measures offered by bibliometrics

Below is a short video describing 10 principles to guide the use of metrics in research evaluation.