Identity and Impact

As a researcher, you can increase your influence by ensuring that your present yourself and your research outputs effectively.  Below are some of the things you should consider.

Manage your identity

Managing your identity helps you to ensure that your work is unambiguously attributed to you and can help to raise your researcher profile.

Create an ORCID iD

A key thing to do is to create an ORCID iD.  This is a unique identifier which:

  • identifies you, even if you have  various versions of your name
  • distinguishes you from other researchers with a similar name
  • provides a record of your works
  • facilitates communication with other systems in the university and those managed by research funders and publishers

Find out more on the Library’s pages about ORCID.

Think about the name you use on your research outputs

If you are new to publishing you should think about the name you use on your outputs so that your work can be attributed to you.

  • Be consistent by using the same version of your name on all your work. For example, choose either Stephen Grey or Steve Grey but don’t mix and match.
  • If your name is likely to be shared with another researcher, consider using your middle names or initials if you have them. For example, Sarah K. Jones instead of Sarah Jones.  However, be sure to do this consistently
  • Ensure your affiliation is included in your publications. If you include the organisation at which you work this will help to differentiate you from someone with a similar name who is working elsewhere.  This is also required by the SHU open access publishing policy.


Increase your visibility through profiles

Your profile(s) are your shop window to the world.  Consider where you would like to have a presence and remember to update your profiles on the services you have decided to use.

Maintain your SHU profile

If you are a member of staff, your claimed outputs on Elements are used to populate the publications section of your SHU profile on the University’s externally facing web pages. It is therefore important to keep the record of your outputs up to date in Elements.

Manage your Scopus Author Identifier

If your work appears in Scopus, you will have a Scopus Author Identifier created by Scopus.  This helps to identify and pull together your work in Scopus.  It can be linked with your ORCID ID to help you to maintain your record and can be used for automatic claiming in Elements.

If your Scopus author identifier needs amending, find out how to do this on the Scopus page Manage my author profile.

Curate your Web of Science/Publons profile

You can use the ‘Author Search BETA’ option to find your profile on Web of Science, including a list of your outputs (those that are indexed in this database). The Clarivate Analytics help on using Author Search BETA will show you  howto use this feature to search for yourself or another author, how to claim an author record and how to correct an author record.

When you claim an author record you will be linked to Publons, which you can use to manage your publications, citation metrics, peer reviews, and journal editing work.  You can also use your Web of Science / Publons profile for automatic claiming in Elements.

Consider using Academic Social Networks: ResearchGate, Academia, etc.

You may wish to create profiles and publication lists in social networks for researchers such as ResearchGate or Academia.  If you are thinking of using these sites to share your work as well as to have a profile, please have a look at our page about sharing your research to help you share your research in line with your publisher’s policies.

Consider having a profile on Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic

Another option is to set up a Google Scholar profile using Google Scholar Citations.   You can create a public or private profile in Google Scholar with information about you and links to your publications.

If any of your publications are retrievable on Microsoft Academic you will automatically have a profile.  If you wish to edit and maintain your profile, search for yourself to find and then claim your profile.


Track your academic and social media impact

There are a various ways that you can find and track the academic impact of your research outputs.   The metrics provided by citation counts, altmetrics and your h-index may be of interest, however, you should be sure you are aware of their limitations. Looking more deeply at the related qualitative information such as who is citing your work or tweeting about your research is often more valuable and can help you to understand and tell the story of the academic or social media impact of your research.

Citation counts, article metrics and finding documents that have cited your work

It will probably be interesting and useful to you to be able to do the following:

  • find the number of documents which have cited your work (this will vary depending on the source you use)
  • find the details of the citing documents and link to them to see the citations to your work in context
  • set up alerts to be informed if there are any new citations to your work
  • analyse the collection of documents citing your work
  • look at other article citation metrics

Click here to find out how to look at article metrics and track the citations to your work.

You may also be interested in look at social media and other attention to your outputs by using altmetrics.

Altmetrics - social media and related attention to your outputs
Altmetrics are measures of article views & downloads, social media mentions, news mentions and captures & shares on tools such as Mendeley. Altmetrics can help toward measuring attention before citations are likely to happen and can give a wider picture beyond the academic literature.

Find out more about altmetrics.

You are likely to see altmetric data about journal article and papers from and PlumX when using resources such as library databases and publisher web sites. There are also tools such as the Altmetric It! bookmarklet.

You can use altmetrics to help build a ‘story’ around the reach of your outputs, alongside citation metrics and other measures of impact.  You can use Altmetric Explorer to easily find almetrics about your own outputs all in one place. (To use on-campus: choose ‘continue as guest’ – no account needed. To use off-campus, or with personalisation, choose ‘create an account’ and use your SHU email address to create your account.)

Learn more about these and other tools for finding altmetrics.

Researcher metrics

Your h-index attempts to measure your productivity and impact based on the citations to your body of work. H-indexes have been used in some subject areas (mostly the sciences) in the past. It is now being recommended that these are best avoided.  Please read the University’s guidance on Responsible research metrics: a guide to research assessment and the use of quantitative indicators.

You may come across other researcher level metrics, please make sure you understand any metrics you intend to use.  For example, ResearchGate gives researchers an RG score.  A recent study has concluded that “RG Scores should not be mistaken for academic reputation indicators”.  Orduna-Malea, E., Martín-Martín, A., Thelwall, M. & Lopez-Cozazr, E. D. (2017). Do ResearchGate Scores create ghost academic reputations? Scientometrics 112, 443. doi: 10.1007/s11192-017-2396-9. The study found that high RG Scores seem to be achieved by being active in ResearchGate in terms of asking and answering questions.

Responsible use of metrics in research assessment

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

  • citation metrics aren’t capable of measuring broader societal and economic impact
  • metrics such as citation counts may be ‘quantitative’ but they are dependent on citation practices
  • metrics should only be used to support qualitative, expert judgement

Please read the University’s guidance on Responsible research metrics: a guide to research assessment and the use of quantitative indicators.

The Metrics toolkit is a great source of information about using metrics responsibly, including the limitations and use cases for individual indicators.

You may find the short video below useful.  It describes 10 principles to guide the use of metrics in research evaluation and is a video version of the Nature paper:
Hicks, D., Wouters, P., Waltman, L.,  de Rijke, S. & Rafols I. (2015). The Leiden Manifesto for research metrics: use these 10 principles to guide research evaluation. Nature, April 23, 520:429-431. doi:10.1038/520429a.

The Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics from Diana Hicks on Vimeo.

Academic citizenship / contributions to the academic community

When you are considering your academic impact, you should also  think about your contributions to the academic community here at Sheffield Hallam and more widely. This could include:

  • being a journal editor or editorial board member
  • carrying out peer reviewer of articles
  • being a conference organiser
  • being a mentor
  • committee work in a professional body or learned society
  • invitations to speak or provide a keynote address


Plan your Research Impact

Research impact is an increasingly important part of the research process.

“Simply put, impact is the effect, change or benefit to the non-academic world which occurs as a consequence of your research. If you keep asking yourself these fundamental questions, you won’t go far wrong: What could happen as a result of my research? Who could it benefit – and how? What can I do to help this to happen?”

The SHU Research Impact webpages are a great resource on this topic.

    • For those new to research impact, or those who would benefit from refreshing their knowledge, What is research impact anyway? is a good place to start.
    • The research impact resources page is a searchable list of guidance, toolkits, online training, etc.
    • There is also information about research impact and the REF