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How to Use Metrics in Promotion and Grants - a self-help guide: Home

Purpose of this guide

Researchers and academic staff may need to demonstrate the quality and impact of their research in grant applications and academic promotions. Metrics may indicate research quality and provide evidence of claims that researchers make.

This guide provides information on using research metrics to capture evidence and describe research outputs for grants and promotions, by using the free and subscription tools that determine the impact and engagement metrics of research outputs. It provides example statements showing how to use these metrics to put your claims into context.

Firstly, ensure you keep your author profiles up-to-date so the evidence you gather is accurate, as the data from analysis tools depends on these sources. Use the Researcher Profile and CRO Library Guides to assist.

It is important to be aware of the limitations with metrics.

  • Not all metrics will be relevant for describing your impact, it depends on your discipline and research outputs.
  • Research impact measures are not comparable across disciplines.
  • No one database will provide a comprehensive measurement of impact.
  • Results between citation databases are not comparable since their coverage varies.
  • Citation counts alone are not an indication of excellent research. They should be used with other qualitative measures.

See our Research Metrics, Impact and Engagement guide for more information on metrics.

The Metrics Toolkit has further details. It has been developed to help scholars and evaluators understand and use citations, web metrics, and altmetrics responsibly in the evaluation of research. It provides evidence-based information about research metrics across disciplines, including how each metric is calculated, where you can find it, and how each should (and should not) be applied. You’ll also find examples of how to use metrics in grant applications, CV, and promotion packages.

Presenting metrics in your applications

When you apply for grants or Academic promotion you should use metrics to present yourself in the best possible light.

Before you start you need to familiarise yourself with the rules of the grants. Some funders, the Australian Research Council, and the National Health and Medical Research Council for example, require that you don't use particular types of metrics (e.g.Journal Impact Factors or JIF).


In your grant or promotion application you could try to include:

  • metrics for quantity
  • metrics for quality 

The Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics have 10 principles to guide responsible research evaluation.

You can use SciVal and PlumX to find evidence of:

  • the reach of your research - who is engaging with your research, how they engage, and where they are.
  • your collaboration with other Researchers (Local, National or International) Government or Industry
  • how to benchmark yourself against other academics.
  • the rate of citations varies between disciplines. Metrics are meaningless in isolation, so provide a legion of the metrics that you present, and try to provide a short statement that indicates the meaning and context of the metrics.

Tips for Grant Writing

When writing your grant application it’s important to think about who is going to read it and under what conditions. You should write in a way that’s easy to understand and quickly digestible. There are a number of techniques you can use to achieve this:

  1. Make the formatting work for you
  2. Use simple straightforward language
  3. Ensure a single voice is used throughout the application
  4. Use positive language
  5. Know your audience: use the funder’s language
  6. Avoid jargon and acronyms
  7. Tell a story
  8. Use an active voice
  9. Write definitive statements
  10. Ensure your application is grammatically correct

For more information see: Grant Development Resources and Support

Tips for Academic Promotion Applications

Applications need to provide evidence to support that applicants:

  1. Are working at a sustained way at the level for which they are applying for promotion. This can be shown by building a case for promotion supported by evidence which articulates academic achievements. The achievements need to demonstrate outcome, impact and influence that result from the activity, usually focussing on the last five years of academic work, or where the applicant was promoted or appointed to the University within the last five years, any achievements since that promotion or appointment.
  2. Career trajectory is demonstrated as upward with momentum.

The value of specific metrics varies between disciplines and there is no one size fits all in terms of what metrics to use. Review the A Guide to Evidence in Promotion and the RPI Index Guide to get an understanding of the types of evidence you could consider.

For more information see other Charles Sturt resources:

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