Citation Metrics

Are Citation Metrics Important?

Citation metrics measure the research impact or influence of an individual scientist or research group. Metrics can demonstrate your track record when applying for grants and promotion. Always consider metrics in the context of your discipline. Citation patterns vary in different disciplines and metrics should never be used as the only measure.

Create a unique author identifier if you find it difficult to locate your publications, e.g. if other authors share your name and initials; if there are mistakes or inconsistent use of your name and initials in the database records; if your publications are associated with multiple institutions.

For further information see Researcher Profile

There are a number of metrics that can be used to quantify author impact, e.g. h-index proposed in 2005 by JE Hirsch.

"The index h, defined as the number of papers with citation number greater than or equal to h, is a useful index to characterise the scientific output of a researcher"An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output

The example below is an Author Citation h-Index from Scopus, where the author has 21 documents that have been cited at least 21 times by other researchers.

h-index graph showing no. of citations vs no. of publications

Further information: h-index [Wikipedia]

Finding Author Citation Metrics

Author impact, i.e. h-index, will vary depending on the journals indexed by the selected source. The source of the data should be quoted when citing author impact, i.e. h-index 8 (WoS); h-index 20 (Google Scholar).

Some databases, e.g.  Wiley Online Library and Oxford Journals, will identify citing articles found via Crossref, Web of Science or Google Scholar.

Other Measures of Esteem or impact

Research evaluation

An author's esteem can be observed in the influence their research has in industry, government policy change or in other benefits to society.

A research diary can be used to record membership of professional or institutional boards, editorial roles, media references; and to document how your research has influenced policy, industry or society.

Further Reading

Australian Research Council (2013) Research impact principles and framework

Clancy, C. M., Glied, S. A., & Lurie, N. (2012). From research to health policy impact.(editorial). Health Services Research, 47(1), 337.

 Gilbert, N. (2010). UK science will be judged on impact: Pilot scheme paves way for university research to be awarded on the basis of society benefits. Nature, 468(7322), 357.

 Grady, P. A., & Hinshaw, A. S. (2011). Shaping health policy through nursing research. New York: Springer.

Penfield, T., Baker, M. J., Scoble, R., & Wykes, M. C. (2014). Assessment, evaluations and definitions of research impact: A review. Research Evaluation, 23(1), 21-32. doi: 10.1093/reseval/rvt021

 Piwowar, H. (2013). Value all research products: A new funding policy by the US National Science Foundation represents a sea-change in how researchers are evaluated.. Nature, 493(7431), 159.


The h-index

Help from a Librarian

Further Reading