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Research Commons

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Tracking and Enhancing your Research Impact (workshop)

Common Metrics and their Sources 


There are a lot of research metrics available but the most commonly asked-for are these three:  times cited, h-index, and impact factor (sometimes known as journal impact factor, IF, or JIF).  For this workshop, we are only going to be looking at these.  If you would like more information on other research metrics, take a look at the Research Metrics section of the Research Impact guide.  The main sources for these metrics are two library databases, Web of Science and Scopus, and Google Scholar.


Times cited is simply the number of times an article has been cited.  Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar will all list the number of times a work has been cited in publications that they are indexing.  Since all three index a different set of sources, the number will not be the same in each.


h-index is the number of articles (h) of an author that have received at least (h) citations over time.  For example, an h-index of 8 would mean that an author has 8 articles that have received at least 8 citations each.  The h-index attempts to measure an author's impact over time.  The longer an author has been publishing, the higher the h-index is likely to be.  Web of ScienceScopus, and Google Scholar all display an h-index for authors.  Since each only uses the articles indexed within that source, the number will vary.  Comparisons should only be made within the same data source and take into account differences in disciplines and career stages.  For more information about the h-index, see Talking to your researchers about the h-index.


Impact Factor is only from Web of Science (through its related database Journal Citation Reports) but Scopus has a similar measure for journals called CiteScore.  We covered impact factor (and its rival, CiteScore) in the section of this workshop on choosing publication venues so we won't go over it again here.



Author Searching in Web of Science and Scopus


To find times cited and h-index in Web of Science and Scopus you will need to search for yourself as an author to generate a list of all your publications indexed in that source.  The list can be sorted by times cited to see the most cited items at the top or you can click on "Create Citation Report" (in Web of Science) or "View citation overview" (in Scopus) to view the citation chart and h-index.  The data can be downloaded for use in Excel.


Tutorial on author searching in Web of Science



Instructions for author searching in Scopus



Metrics from Google Scholar


To get times cited and h-index from Google Scholar you need to set up a profile.  The information in this profile is only visible to you unless you make it public.


Citation Alerts

You can set up citation alerts to be notified by email when an article you are interested in is cited. Web of Science and Scopus require that you register with an individual username and password to do this. Google Scholar lets you set up an alert without registering but logging in with your Gmail account will give you access to the "My Citations" section, where you can track citations to all your publications.  Citation alerts can also be set up in WoS and Scopus for author names or identifiers and in Google Scholar for authors who have public profiles.

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