My RI- Measuring your Research Impact. The main metrics.

We will now review some of the main research impact metrics used. In modules 2 and 3 you will be shown how to find and calculate these metrics. You will also get to see some of the issues and limitations of the metrics and the tools used to produce them.

Quantitative measures provide just one part of the picture. They should only be used where it is appropriate to do so and with an understanding that it is extremely difficult to compare across disciplines without taking in to account a discipline's publication and citation patterns.

It is also widely acknowledged that the main citation tools do not offer the ability to produce appropriate and accurate metrics in Humanities, Computer Science and Engineering. These areas are less dependent on journals when compared to other disciplines. The coverage of areas within the Social Sciences is also limited in a number of tools.

Publication counts: the number of publications produced by an individual, unit or institution is the most basic measure of productivity. These should be treated with caution as a basic count does not take into account:

  • the number of researchers in an institution
  • the disciplines covered
  • the actual publications and the depth of coverage. This point applies to all tools!

Citation counts: Citations are used to measure a paper's or a group of papers' impact or influence. It is important to note that the "count" will vary depending on the tool used. If you use Web of Knowledge you can also view:

  • average citations per paper
  • average citations per institution

Creative Commons License

My RI by University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, The National University of Ireland, Maynooth and the NDLR adapted by Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at