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Measuring Your Research Impact

This guide will help researchers to measure and increase the impact of their published work.

On This Page

Learn About Tools That:

  • Track Citations to Your Work

  • Create Citation Reports

  • Identify/Calculate Your H-Index

  • Manage Your Identity

Manage Your Identity

Author identification tools help researchers deal with problems such as having a common name, having published under more than one name, or having changed their names. They provide a persistent identifier that distinguishes individual authors  from other researchers.

Orcid (Open Researcher & Contributor ID)
"ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized."

Some publishers and funders require ORCID numbers when manuscripts or proposals are submitted. Register for free.

"ResearcherID provides a solution to the author ambiguity problem within the scholarly research community. Each member is assigned a unique identifier to enable researchers to manage their publication lists, track their times cited counts and h-index, identify potential collaborators and avoid author misidentification."

Register for free.

Problems with Rankings

Thomson Reuters, Publisher of Journal Citation Reports, notes its citation data and journal impact rankings should not replace informed peer review.

How Do I Measure My Impact?

Faculty may be asked to show the impact of their work for purposes such as a promotion and tenure file or for a grant application.  

The value of  specific articles or other publications can be studied by looking at how many times they are cited in later publications and alternative channels such as tweets and blog posts. The impact of particular researchers can be studied by looking at bibliometric measures such as the number of works they have published and how many times and where their works as a whole have been cited.

Ways to demonstrate influence include:

Show Citations to Your Work

An individual author's impact has traditionally been measured by the number of times his or her publications have been cited by other researchers.

Tools below such as Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Public Library of Science (PLoS) provide such data.

Many other tools provide such data on a less extensive scale but may be helpful in specific fields or sub-fields; examples include ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost Databases, and JSTOR. Such tools also can help in identifying other types of articles such as book reviews.

Other databases allow searching of full text, including reference lists, and can be useful in finding additional cited references or articles about or reviews of the books of particular authors. 

Identify/Calculate Your H-Index 

The H-Index (or Hirsch Index) is an additional measure of the productivity and impact of a given researcher. It is the number of articles (h) that have been cited h or more times.  For example, a researcher with an H-index of 8 has published 8 articles that have been cited at least 8 times each.

Web of Science, Google Scholar, and other tools provide an H-Index calculation. H-index values for a particular person may vary from database to database because of differences in the journals and years that they cover.

Web of Science

Web of Science can be used to search for articles by a particular author and to compile a report about citations to such articles, as shown in the screen shots below:

  • Enter the author's last name followed by the initials of the first and middle names, then select Author from the drop-down menu to the right, to do an author search.
  • Click the Create Citation Report on the right side of the search results screen. Items in Citation Reports are all derived from publications indexed in Web of Science.
  • To include citations to items not indexed within Web of Science (Core Collection), do a Cited Reference search for the author, Select All and Finish Search, and then click the Create Citation Report link.

Author Search, with no citations yet for one of his articles:

Sample Citation Report for 37 works by A.P. Brief:

Web of Science: Citation Report

This six minute video from the publisher of Web of Science explains how to find citations to particular works and track the research output and total citations to multiple works by a given author. It also explains the difference between author and cited reference searches, with cited reference searches including non-Web of Science publications and being more comprehensive.

Google Scholar Citations

Google Scholar tracks citations to particular works as well as compiling summary data about citations to all works by a given author. Google Scholar help pages provides details about use of the service.

Google Scholar can be used to look up particular authors and find citations to their publications, including books. Google Scholar Citation Profiles, which an author can choose to make public, summarize total citations as well as providing details about citations of particular works.

Cited Reference Example:

Author Profile example for specific article:

PLoS (Public Library of Science)

Articles published in Public Library of Science journals include article-level metrics such as times cited (as determined by third party tools like Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed Central, and CrossRef)  as well as times viewed, saved, discussed, or recommended. 

Some article-level metrics for a sample article are displayed below; the full page shows more use details related to figshare, Mendeley, Twitter, and Facebook.