Impact and Bibliometrics: Researcher and Paper Impact

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

Researcher Impact in Databases

Each of these databases provides some citation information for its content. To learn more about what each database offers click on the icon to the right of the database name.

Methods of Researcher and Paper Impact Measurement

Citation Analysis

Citation analysis is probably the most widely used, and most versatile way to look at an individual researcher's impact. Citation analysis assumes that papers that are cited more frequently are more visible, and therefore have greater impact. Many databases provide a list of citing papers for each paper, though often these lists will only include those citing papers available through the database. Another helpful source for citing papers and other materials is Google Scholar, which is more likely to be a more comprehensive list of citations, but also often includes non-scholarly publications. Citation analysis can focus on the number of citations, the citation frequency, or many other measures of citation.

Here are some things to watch out for when conducting citation analysis:

  • Databases may only include citations from other papers or resources within that database in the citation count.
  • Some citations may come from sources who are criticizing the original publication
  • New research will often go uncited for some time after publication
  • Not all fields cite at the same levels, so different research areas cannot be directly compared

Some resources provide more detailed information than lists of citing papers. This may include a more in-depth analysis of trends and patterns in citations. Some resources also allow you to set up alerts, informing you of new citations.

See the list "Researcher Impact in Databases" for databases that offer citation analysis tools or other researcher impact measures.


The h-index is a very common method of determining the impact of an individual researcher. The h-index was created by Dr. J.E. Hirsch, who says that "A scientist has index h if h of his or her Np papers have at least h citations each and the other (Np - h) papers have < h citations each." For more information on the h-index, see Dr. Hirsch's paper "An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output.

An h-index is calculated on Web of Science using the citation report and Google Scholar.


ImpactStory is a new measure for researcher influence.  ImpactStory is a website that allows you to track many non-traditional measures of an article's impact, including things like downloads, bookmarks, and mentions in blogs. It is more likely to give useful information for some articles or documents than others. It is not intended to be used alone, but can be a valuable addition to other impact measurements. For more information on see the FAQ page.

See the ImpactStory website to create a report.

Altmetric Score

Altmetric Metric is a new way of looking at an article's impact. Altmetric looks for mentions of scholarly articles in social media, blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other non-traditional sources for impact information. Different sources for citations are ranked according to their quality, so a newspaper or magazine may be ranked higher than a blog or tweet. Each article's score also shows information about the demographics of the citing sources. Not all papers will have an Altmetric Score, but the scores could be a nice supplement to more traditional impact measurements.

For more information and to create an account to track articles see the Altmetric website.

Google Scholar Metrics

Google Scholar Metrics provides a way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility of recent articles in scholarly publications. Journals are evaluated and ordered by their five year h-index and h-median metrics.  For more detailed information, click here.  Data is based on the Google Scholar index as of April 1, 2012.

Scholar Metrics pulls up the top 100 publications.  Just search for your journal title in the search box to retrieve the metrics.