Impact and Bibliometrics: Home

Information and resources for helping scholars assess and improve the impact of their research and scholarship.

What is impact?

Traditionally, and especially in the sciences, impact has been measured by the number of times a particular article is cited in other comparable publications, or more broadly by the “impact factor” of the journal in which an article appears. While the ability to demonstrate impact can still be an important tool in the promotion and tenure process, complementary or “alternative metrics” for measuring disciplinary impact using formal and informal communications are also becoming more common. These “altmetrics”  provide rich, evolving, and diverse methods to point to other kinds of impact, for example impact on the global scholarly community or the general public. The ability to measure impact is often enhanced by free and open access to scholarly publications.

Further reading

"Using bibliometrics in evaluating research." This guide to bibliometrics by Thompson Reuters gives a good overview of impact measures, and provides 10 rules for useful and realistic publication and citation analysis:

Greenberg, Marc L. “Joan Smiths of the World, Disunite!” Blog post:

Greenberg, Marc L. “Not Waving But Drowning.” Blog post:

Lin, Jennifer and Martin Fenner. “Article-Level Metrics – Learning to Walk, Run & Do Algebra.” Blog post:

Tanenbaum, Greg. 2013. Article-Level Metrics. A SPARC Primer.



A Recipe for Visibility

Know your rights with regards to copyright and keep as many as you can. Timothy K. Armstrong: An Introduction to Publication Agreements for Authors 


  • Work with KU ScholarWorks: a digital repository at KU which curates your work, makes it openly available, and it tracks usage.

  • Register with ORCID and claim your electronically visible research, differentiate it from others’ publications with the same or similar names. (see more)

  • Claim an page and link there to your papers in KU ScholarWorks. also connects you to the global community of scholars in your areas of interest.

  • Claim and make public your GoogleScholar page. Edit it to weed out duplicates and works mistakenly attributed to you. Keep track of your h-index (the  number h of your works cited h or more times).




Types of Article Level Metrics

  • Usage - How many downloads? Where downloaded?

            Example:: KU ScholarWorks

  • Captures - How many bookmarks, shares (CiteULike, Mendeley)

            Example: How many "reads" an item In Mendeley has

  • Mentions - Mentions in non-academic media (news stories, Wikipedia, etc.)

            Example: Altmetric

  • Social media - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter shares

            Example: Altmetric

  • Citations - Classic metric for “impact”

            Example: GoogleScholar, GoogleScholar Metrics


What are bibliometrics?

Bibliometrics are ways to measure the impact or influence of an article, journal, or researcher. In one way or another, most bibliometric measures look at how frequently that article, journal, or researcher is cited. Some of the greatest advantages to using bibliometrics are:

  • helping researchers figure out where to publish

  • finding the most important journals in a field

  • guiding students to the most important papers on a topic

  • learning about the impact of a paper, researcher, or department

There are many different ways to measure impact, and new ways to view impact are being created now to match changes in research, publishing, and technology. The methods described here are some of the most commonly used.

While each bibliometric measure provides a lot of information, keep in mind that no one measure is thorough enough to fully describe value of a paper, journal, or researcher.

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Terms of Use

 Creative Commons License  This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, Terms of use for the individual resources linked from this guide may vary.