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Research Impact Metrics: Getting Started

This is an introduction to different research impact metrics and tools for author disambiguation.


A variety of metrics have been developed over the years to assess research impact for distinct scholarly purposes.  They have different foci and their adoption rates vary.  As more scholars turn to digital media to discuss research and share resources, new measures have been brought up to account for the online interactions in hopes that research impact can be assessed more thoroughly.

Research word cloud

This guide provides an introduction to commonly used research metrics as well as recently developed ones.  As Bollen, Van de Sompel, Chute, and Hagberg note in their study, "the notion of scientific impact is a multi-dimensional construct that can not be adequately measured by any single indicator, although some measures are more suitable than others."  Researchers may want to consider the pros and cons of different metrics and use a combination of them as appropriate for assessment.

Discussions of Impact Metrics

Metrics: A Profusion of Measures

This article discusses the "metrics explosion" and provides a field guide to metrics.

The Maze of Impact Metrics

This editorial in Nature points out that research impact assessment "must take into account the effects of emphasizing particular measures — and be open about their methods."

Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics

Researchers from different institutions have proposed 10 principles to guide research evaluation.

A Principal Component Analysis of 39 Scientific Impact Measures

This is an analysis of how accurately and completely new measures express research impact.

Citation Statistics

This is a report about the use and misuse of citation data in the assessment of scientific research.

Final Impact: What Factors Really Matter?

Below is the video of a panel discussion about appropriate ways to gauge the importance and influence of scholarly publications.


Journal-level metrics: Jan Carver

Online Toolkit and Tutorial

The Metrics Toolkit demystifies research metrics by helping scholars and evaluators choose and compare commonly used metrics.  It also connects users with resources and use cases for a better understanding of research metrics. 

The IATUL Research Impact Things "aims to equip learners with the skills and knowledge required to engage in the use of a range of metrics around research impact and gain understanding of the research landscape."

Created by the National Institutes of Health Library, this bibliometrics training series aims to "provide free, on-demand training on how we do bibliometrics for research evaluation."

Measure your Research Impact (MyRI) offers an online tutorial that introduces viewers to citation metrics.  It also includes videos and other materials for teaching this topic.

Snowball Metrics

Research universities around the world have come together to develop the Snowball Metrics "to ensure that its outputs are of practical use to them, and are not imposed by organizations with potentially distinct aims such as funders, agencies, or suppliers of research information."  Below is a video about this initiative.