Sunday, 4 June 2017

How to Measure Researcher Impact | NCSU Libraries


How to Measure Researcher Impact

impact is often measured using quantitative methods such as citation
counts, the h-index, and journal impact factors. It can also be
described qualitatively. Currently, there is no one tool or system that
completely measures impact. Each database or tool uses its own
measurement systems, indices, data and authority files. And it is
difficult to use these tools to compare across disciplines that have
different research and publication practices. Furthermore, as scholarly
communication continues to evolve, the limitations of existing metrics
and tools are becoming increasingly evident. 

Researcher impact

An author's impact on their field or discipline has traditionally
been measured using the number of times they have published and the
number of times their academic publications are cited by other
researchers. Although the simplest way to demonstrate your impact is to
create a list of your publications and the number of times they have
been cited, numerous algorithms based on publication data have also been
created. Below are some of the more common metrics and tools you can
use to measure research impact.

Common Measures of Author Impact




Attempts to measure:

Quality and quantity of author's work

Quality and quantity of author's work, with more weight on quality

Quality of author's work


An author’s h-index is the number of papers (h) that have
received (h) or more citations. An author with an h-index of 8 has 8
papers cited at least 8 times.

To calculate the g-index an author’s articles are ranked in
decreasing order of the number of the citations each received. The
unique largest number such that the top g articles received,
together, at least g^2 citations is the g-index.

Counts the number of publications with at least 10 citations.


  • Inaccurate measure of early career researcher impact.
  • Only measures published works.

Only measures published works.

  • Only used in Google Scholar
  • Only measures published works

Group or departmental impact

A research group or department may wish to gauge the impact of its
research or learn how it compares to its peers. Similar to individual
impact measures, these numbers can give only a partial story of impact.

Publication Activity and Citation Count

Simple indicators of activity and impact for a group or department
can be discovered by searching all the individuals in the group and
combining their names with the OR search operator. These raw counts will
vary depending on what the data source includes. The h-index for a
group takes all the publications of every member of the group and
creates a cumulative score. Below are some common tools used to obtain
publication and citation data.

the PubMed identifier to locate where articles have been cited. Looks
for citations in nontraditional places such as blogs, databases, and

Citation database that allows you to create a Citation Report and calculate an h-index.

A software program that must be downloaded and installed
on a computer. It allows researchers to provide evidence of their
research impact. Citations are obtained from Google Scholar. Besides
basic statistics it calculates H-index, G-index, and E-index, among

A browser extension that queries Google Scholar. Network
visualizations are based on crowdsourced discipline annotations of the
queried authors.

Both can be used to obtain citation counts for articles. Google Scholar Citations also allows authors to keep track of citations to their articles.

For more information or assistance, meet with a librarian or Ask Us.

How to Measure Researcher Impact | NCSU Libraries

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