Scholarly Impact Challenge

This guide contains 10 challenges for scholars to better understand and manage their online scholarly presence, as well as the impact and reach of their research.

Introduction to Find Appropriate Metrics

In this challenge, we’ll look at concrete ways the impact of that work might be measured, focusing on this question: How do you get from the work you do, to an appropriate metric for measuring and communicating its impact?

Let's get started!

The Metrics Toolkit

The Metrics Toolkit, launched in 2018, is a great tool to help you navigate the research metrics landscape.

According to the tool's website, "The Metrics Toolkit 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."
(Quoted from "About the Metrics Toolkit.")

  Metrics Toolkit logo
Metrics Toolkit Logo | Metrics Toolkit | CC BY 4.0

TIP:  Start with the Metrics page by clicking on the "Browse" button in the upper-right-hand part of the page or by clicking on the "Explore" button on the main page.

The Metrics page lists close to 30 different metrics that are used to determine impact.

The page for each metric includes information such as:

  • Types of publications that often use the metric
  • Metric definition
  • Metric calculation
  • Appropriate use cases
  • Inappropriate use cases
  • Limitations
  • Available sources to find the metrics
Partial screenshot of entry for "blog mentions"
(partial screenshot of entry for "Blog mentions")  | Metrics Toolkit | CC BY 4.0


Again, you have your choice of activities.

Activity 1 : If you have publications or creative works, identify metrics from the Metrics Toolkit list that can be used to measure their impact.

Activity 2 : If you don't have a list of works yet, find the metrics for the types of publications that are common in your discipline.

Activity 3 : Look at 3 metrics that are used by other disciplines. It is important to understand how other disciplines measure impact.

Which ever activity or activities you try, pay particular focus to the "Appropriate use cases," "Limitations," and "Inappropriate Use Cases" for each of the metrics you look at.

License Statement

Content for this challenge of the Scholarly Impact Challenge has been derived from the University of Michigan's Research Impact Challenge, which is licensed CC BY 4.0.