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Measuring Research Impact: Welcome

Information, hints and tips on the tools you can use to measure your research impact.

What are Bibliometrics?

Bibliometrics are measures used to analyse the impact of research outputs. There are three areas of bibliometrics

  • Research output metrics - to find out how a parituclar output, or a particular group of outputs, has been cited (e.g number of citations for all papers published in 2018 at Aston)
  • Journal metrics - to evaluate the impact of a journal e.g number of citations for Nature Communications articles in 2018
  • Individual Author metrics - to explore the impact of individual authors, a group of authors, or a particular university has been cited e.g number of citations in the past 5 years for Aston Medical School


Bibliometrics are to be used responsibly, with a single metric not being used in isolation. Bibliometrics should be used to support peer review. Aston has signed up to DORA which intends to stop the practice of correlating the journal impact factor to the merits of a specific researchers contributions. If you would like to understand in greater detail the types of bibliometrics available, visit the Metrics Toolkit. Bibliometrics are related to other areas of research, including Open Science, Open Access, Research Data Management, & Researcher Profiles.



Why measure research impact?

Bibliometrics are important for a number of reasons:

1. They can be used as an indicator for an individual, a group of individuals, a research group and a university of the impact and importance of their research to the field of research they work in.

2. Applications for employment, promotions, and applications for funding may use bibliometric data in decision making.

3. Identify strengths and weaknesses across a university and allow more informed decisions to be made by universities.

4. Are used to measure research outputs within universities, nationally and globally. They may also be used in university rankings and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), which can be seen in the 'Metric Tide' report. There is an Open Access requirement for research outputs in the REF, see here for further information

Your Information Services Team

Information Specialists can assist researchers to save time and work more efficiently. They can advise you in making the most of the Aston University Library's extensive resources and services by:

  • developing successful search strategies to locate the information you require
  • discovering the essential databases that you should be using for your research
  • staying current and managing information overload by utilising current awareness services
  • maximising the impact of your research by publishing strategically
  • measuring your research impact
  • effectively navigating the Library’s extensive electronic and print collections
  • creating and using bibliographies with EndNote

Academic staff and research students can request an individual research consultation via the Library Help desk, by phone or email.

Contact your Information Specialist






Bibliometric Tools

How many times has my recently published journal article/book chapter been cited?

Use Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar. Note that the number of citations may differ between systems due to the types of output or they index, and also time lags between publishing and indexing. 


What is the impact of my publications relative to my peers?

Use Web of ScienceScopus or Google Scholar to view your h-index. Your h-index changes over time as you publish more and get a greater number of citations. Note that the number of citations may differ between systems due to the types of output or they index, and also time lags between publishing and indexing. To ensure that your citation data is as accurate as possible (especially if you have a common name or publish with variant names), ensure you have your Researcher IDs correctly setup.  


Am I publishing in the most appropriate journal for my research, or could my research have a greater impact if I published elsewhere?

The most commonly used indicators are the Journal Impact Factor (JIF), the Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR). It must however be noted that the journal level metrics provide a general overview, and do not reflect the quality of individual journal articles.


Are there any alternatives to traditional citation based research bibliometrics?

Altmetrics may be a suitable alternative, depending on the field.