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Measure Your Research Impact

Find Resources to Help Measure the Impact of Your Research

Ways to Evaluate Impact

Bibliometrics: within the context of scientific/technical literature, this typically refers to measuring impact by counting citations, specifically by counting how many times a particular work has been cited by other works.

Altmetrics: this method attempts to take into account quantifiable measures of impact beyond just citations.  This includes things like mentions on twitter, mentions in blogs, etc.   The idea is to get a fuller picture of impact in an increasingly online research environment.

(Source: Judging Your Impact guide by Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library)

Resources for Librarians and Other Metrics Specialists

Measure Your Impact

Welcome to the Research Library's Impact guide! Here you'll find information on traditional and alternative metrics for measuring research impact at the article, author and journal levels.

If you have questions or need help, email us at

This guide was inspired and influenced by guides from the University of Waterloo, Duke University and the University of Michigan.

ORCID connecting research and researchersORCID is a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from other researchers.

It is integrated with key research workflows such as grant submission and automatically links you to your professional activities and scholarly publications.

Why use ORCID?

  • It can help increase your scholarly presence by aggregating and linking to your publications.
  • ORCID is getting big; journals, funders, and institutions are moving to ORCID.
  • It's stable and lasts a long time.
  • ORCID is secure; you have control over who can view your information.
  • It helps ensure that your work is properly attributed to you by eliminating name ambiguity.
  • ORCID enables researchers to receive credit for their work by including ORCID ID in webpages, publication submissions, grant applications, and research workflows.
  • It facilitates data exchange and compliance with mandates for deposit of research outcomes.

Visit ORCID @ LANL to create an account and quickly link your LANL publications to your profile.

Calculate Your H-Index


Compiles an author's H-Index in Google Scholar Citations
Web of Science Search by author, then click Create Citation Report Create Citation Report button
Scopus Scopus displays the H-Index in its H-Graph. Run an author search, select the author's profile, then click View H-Graph.

Use Web of Science for Individual Journal Metrics and Subject Metrics

On the InCites Journal Citations Report page, type in your journal title.

For each year, the journal profile page will show metrics including:

  • Total cites from other journals
  • the Journal Impact Factor
  • Cited and citing half-life
  • Eigenfactor score
  • Article Influence score and more

Clicking on the Rank tab under the metrics will show the journal's impact factor ranking in its subject area by year and quartile.

To generate a list of journal rankings by subject area, head to the Journal Citations Report page and click Select Categories. Pick your subjects, then click Submit at the bottom of the page.

Google Scholar also ranks publications by five year H-Index and H-Median metrics. You can browse its lists here.

Track Cited and Citing References

Google Scholar

Google Scholar's results page includes a "Cited by" link. It lists the references to that work in Google Scholar.


Scopus' includes citation counts and can sort search results by times cited.

Click on a search result to get a list of citing articles.

Web of Science

Search results in Web of Science include citation counts. Clicking on a a search result takes you to a page with citing and cited references.

Web of Science also allows for sorting search results by citation count.

Altmetrics (alternative metrics) have emerged in the past few years as a collective term for different ways to measure research impact.

They can be a useful complement to traditional metrics in giving a fuller picture of research impact.

The biggest differences with almetrics is in what publications are analyzed and what attention is evaluated.

Instead of just looking at journal articles, altmetrics acknowledge new forms of scholarly communication and publishing, including data sets, blog posts, presentations, and code.

Altmetrics also incorporate attention from social media and online news sources, enabling researchers to capture the immediate and short-term impact of their work.

The circles below show different kinds of interactions that can be measured though altmetrics.

Altmetric circles
Image adapted from Pam King and Mindy Thuna's Altmetrics in Context report under a Creative Commons NonCommercial-ShareAlike license

Altmetric donut

In March 2016, the LANL Research Library incorporated Altmetric badges into Los Alamos Authors and the Los Alamos Public Repository.

For every submission that’s received online mentions, you’ll see the Altmetric donut.

The donut provides a quick way to visualize the impact a publication has received through social media, online news sources, and scholarly networking sites.

The donut has two features: the score and the colors.

The colors represent coverage from social media, traditional media and online reference managers. A more colorful donut has attention from more sources than a less colorful donut.

LARO donut with source information and colors

The number inside the donut is Altmetric’s score of attention. It’s a quantitative measure of the quality and quantity of attention that the publication has received based on Altmetric’s algorithm.

Platforms such as Scopus, Science Direct, IEEE Xplore Digital Library, and BMJ Open have all incorporated the Altmetric badge into their online content.

Contact your librarians for more information!

PLoS article level metrics

The Public Library of Science's (PLoS) article-level metrics gives another example of altmetrics. PLoS captures article saves, citations, views, discussions and shares for items it publishes.

You can find out more about PLoS' altmetrics here.


Traditional and alternative metrics can be an excellent way to measure research output and impact but there are things to keep in mind.

  • Databases like Scopus and Web of Science are not comprehensive and the metrics they generate are only as accurate as the content within them.

    For example, databases may not include foreign language citations, may not include citations that are outside their content scope and may not have accurate metadata.
  • Impact can be positive or negative. A high altmetric score or citation count doesn't necessarily mean a work is of high quality. See here for a notable example of a retracted publication with a high altmetric score.
  • There's potential for manipulation. Self citations, self promotion and spamming can all skew the metrics.

Check out this reading list from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice's Lloyd Sealy Library for more context and discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of bibliometrics.

Your librarians are happy to help you with these tools and resources that measure your research impact!

Altmetrics: Alternatives to traditional metrics like the impact factor, H-Index and citation counts. Some examples include number of tweets, facebook likes, and number of PDF downloads. The term Altmetric was coined by Jason Priem in his Altmetrics Manifesto. Priem and his colleagues define Altmetrics as “the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship.”

Not to be confused with Altmetric, the company.

Article-level metrics: Article-level metrics examine the impact of individual articles. Some article-level indicators are usage, citations, social bookmarking, media coverage, and discussion activity.

Article-level metrics were popularized by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), which includes article-level metrics for all of its articles.

Author metrics: Instead of measuring the impact of journals or articles, author metrics examine impact in terms of authors. The H-Index and the Eigenfactor Score are examples of author-level metrics.

Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Scopus have ways to explore author-level metrics. Ask your librarians for more information!

Citation analysis: An examination of the impact and quality of an article, journal or author based on citation counts. The Journal Impact Factor, H-Index, and article-level metrics are all ways to analyze citations.

Cited reference: A citation, or a reference to a work, its author, and the document in which it was published. Cited reference searching is a great way to trace the development of research in a given subject area.

Eigenfactor score: A journal-level metric that ranks the importance of a journal by the number of citations it receives from other journals. It gives more weight to citations from influential journals, so journals with higher Eigenfactor scores have a higher impact on their fields. has more information about this metric. This metric was created by Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom at the University of Washington.

Related to the Eigenfactor score is the Article Influence score. It determines the influence of a journal’s articles in the first five years of publication. You can find Eigenfactor scores and Article Influence scores in the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports.

H-Index: An author-level metric based on a researcher’s most cited articles and the number of citations each article has received. It measures quantity and quality of an author’s work. The index is named after Jorge Hirsch, a physicist at UCSD.

An author’s H-Index of h means they have published h papers, and each has been cited by others at least h times.

Google Scholar, Web of Science and Scopus can calculate an H-Index based on each database's own content. Your research librarians can help calculate your H-Index!

Journal Impact Factor: A journal-level metric generated by the ISI Web of Knowledge database and published yearly in Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports. It measures the average number of citations received per paper published in a journal in the two previous years.

Impact factors need some context, so for the number to be meaningful it’s best to compare impact factors within disciplines to see which journals are more impactful.

Impact factors aren’t without their issues. See the Caveats tab for more information.

ORCID: ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from other researchers. It is integrated with key research workflows such as grant submission and automatically links you to your professional activities and scholarly publications.

Your librarians can help you register for an ORCID identifier and add works to your profile. See the ORCID box on this page for more information.

Databases and Tools for Measuring Research Impact

News and Notes


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PLoS One: Citation Analysis

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