Research Impact

Resources for authors to assess their impact in their field.

Why Metrics?

Research metrics, also called bibliometrics or citation metrics, are quantitative measurements designed to help you or others evaluate research outputs. They might include measurements such as times an article is cited, journal impact factor measurements, social media mentions, the h-index, news media mentions, and more. Some of these metrics are more traditional than others, but all of them can be used demonstrate the impact of your work.

Research metrics, when used responsibly, can help you tell a story about your research career; research metrics can help you enhance your impact in your field and beyond.

Tips for Reaching a Wider Audience

To help ensure that you can publish your work in an open access repository after publishing it in a for-profit journal, make sure to thoroughly review the publisher copyright form(s) associated with your work and, if necessary, stipulate that you want to retain rights over your work.

The majority of for-profit publishers will allow publishing authors to make this demand in the form an addendum, but the responsibility falls with you to know your rights. Look for your journal in Sherpa Romeo for a summary of publishers' open access archiving conditions and policies for individual journals. Use this SPARC Author Addendum to help you retain certain rights to your research.

According to Piwowar et al., 2018, the rate of open access research has grown rapidly over the years, and OA research receives 18% more citations than average. For researchers who lack funds or institutional credentials to access research behind paywalls, open access also promotes equitable access to scholarship, allowing researchers everywhere barrier-free access to scholarly innovations.

Create a Website for Your Research or Study Network

If your publication is part of a larger research project, or if you belong to a research network, consider creating a website to communicate the aims of the study, the patient population, sources of funding, researchers involved, and any resulting publications. Study websites are especially important if you are planning to recruit participants for your project because they can help communicate and translate the research in a way that non-researcher communities can more-easily understand.

Consider creating a public-facing Zotero library to show visitors the publications resulting from your study.

Conduct outreach via social media channels such as Twitter to raise awareness about your work and reach a wider audience.

WordPress, Squarespace, and Drupal are recommended content management systems for managing online content.

Remove Errors or Duplications in Your Research Profile

If you happen to find errors in your research output, such as missing documents, incorrect names or affiliations, or duplicates of your profile or work, contact the publisher or database host. The links below are some recommended methods for fixing errors:

NIH Biosketch and Grant Applications

When preparing your NIH Biosketch for a grant application, try to articulate how your scholarship has impacted your research field.

The contributions to science section of the NIH Biosketch can be enhanced by contextualizing the background of your research area and by emphasizing the impact your research has made in the field. If your field has been altered by one or more of your publications, articulate this impact by describing how your research findings have influenced technology, public health policy, or standards of care, and describe your role in the research or study.

Metrics worth considering to enhance the your NIH Biosketch or grant applications include: mean citation rate, median citation rate, portfolio h-index, median Relative Citation Ratio (RCR), percentage of articles in the top 10% of citations, the number of guidelines supported, and/or the number of patents supported.

Examples from Altmetric’s guide include statements such as:

This article, in particular, has had a relatively large effect upon the field of biophysics, receiving among the top 5% of social media and other online attention (compared to other research published in the same journal and time frame, according to


This research has received international news coverage from major news outlets including the New York Times, reaching millions worldwide. This has implications for far-reaching changes in personal nutrition choices, based upon my research.

Some of the content of this guide was originally created by me. The rest is attributable to the Welch Medical Library Research Metrics Guide at Johns Hopkins University.