Scholarly Impact Metrics

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Scholarly impact metrics are designed to measure the influence of a researcher's work. Impact metrics are often used as evidence of a scholars' contributions to their disciplines, to improve the the reputations of scholars and their institutions, and to support applications for promotion and tenure, as well as for grants.

This guide provides information and links to the most frequently used metrics.

Article Impact - citation count and analysis using Web of Science and Google Scholar

Journal Impact - journal data  and standard measures for journals

Author Impact - common measures of author impact (h-index) and other metrics scholars might encounter

Altmetrics - what are altmetrics? Altmetric badges and altmetrics tools

Book and Book Chapter Impact - book citation counts, library holdings, book reviews and other qualitative indicators

Maximize Impact - unique researcher identifiers and profiles, academic communities, and other strategies to maximize impact

Some Cautionary Words

Scholarly impact metrics have been the topic of debate and criticism. Some of the arguments against using metrics to evaluate quality include:

  • They (metrics) encourage the "publish or perish" mentality and the glut of journal articles.
  • They are used as substitutes for actual reading and understanding of scholarly works (an article appeared in a highly ranked journal, so it must be high quality).
  • They can be gamed and manipulated.
  • They are indicators of attention, and not necessarily quality. 

Scholarly impact metrics are only one means of evaluating the influence of an article, journal, or author. The quality of a work or corpus of works cannot be fully determined by a number; individuals should apply their own judgment when determining quality scholarship.