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Research Impact

This guide includes information and resources on measuring the impact of scholarly works, such as citation-based and alternative metrics.

Measure for Measure

Metrics are important. They measure our influence in our communities; they are used to evaluate the performance of ourselves, our departments, and our peers. Therefore, ensuring that we collect relevant measures and contextualize them appropriately is important.

Citation-based metrics have been the traditional benchmarks for success in academia. The most familiar citation-based metrics include the Journal Impact Factor and the Hirsch Index, although there are many other citation-based measures that can provide insights to the value of published works and assit with academic benchmarking.

Increasingly, though, research impact has become greater than citation-based metrics alone. We are seeing that traditional metrics give incomplete picture of impact, missing newer forms of use such as page views and download counts, mentions and saves. Article-level metrics are stepping up to fill in these gaps, and they are becoming more and more mainstream.

What are the Metrics?

You have heard of citation counts, Impact Factors, and the H-index. But what about field-weighted citation impact, outputs in top percentiles, media mentions, or the SCImago Journal Rank..... What do all of these mean and how do they relate to your scholarship? 

Check out these Quick Reference Metrics Cards by Librarian Jenny Delasalle and Elsevier Library Connect that explain the common metrics used in research evaluation. 

Image source: ELS_LC_metrics-cards_June-23-2016, (c) 2016 Elsevier, reused under CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Tutorials on Research Impact

Lei Wang Tutorial

This series of 9 tutorials by Yale Medical Librarian Lei Wang covers several topics for understanding and enhancing research impact, including journal and author level metrics, telling impact stories and visualizing impact data, preparing a manuscript, and sharing your research. 

Staying Up-to-Date on Your Research Impact

The folks at ImpactStory have compiled a 2-part primer on services that deliver essential research impact metrics straight to your inbox to help you stay up to date.

Tips & Tricks: promoting your research online (from

Adding Your Impact to Your NIH Biosketch

These blog posts present ideas for including research impact metrics on your biosketch and in grant proposals.