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Research Impact: Overview

Explains bibliometrics, identifies sources of impact data and describes how to ascertain and maximise your own research impact and use the data for promotions, grant applications etc.

Citation Analysis and Bibliometrics

Internationally, increasing emphasis is being placed on the measurable impact of research.  In Australia, factors behind this include:

  • economic conditions and increasing competition for government funding

  • development of ERA* which measures the academic excellence of research and the view that impact measures would complement this assessment

  • general concern to improve the operation of the national innovation system

  • need to demonstrate to the public that research funds are well-spent 

(Rymer, 2011)

Bibliometrics is a term that encompasses the range of statistical analysis related to publications and their authors. This data is used to develop research impact “profiles” for specific individuals, papers, journals and disciplines, institutions and countries.

Each measure has advantages and disadvantages, related to discipline characteristics, inclusiveness of the measures, and the accessibility of the data; and no single measure should be used in isolation.

Altmetrics is a term describing a new and growing field.  This refers to citations of reesarch outputs in social media e.g. Tweets, mentions in blogs, etc.  Used with caution, this information may support claims related to the breadth of impact of your research.

*Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative 

Rymer, L. (2011). Measuring the impact of research - the context for metric development. In The Group of Eight (Ed.), Go8 Backgounder (Vol. 23). Turner, ACT.

Leiden Manifesto

Before seeking or interpreting research metrics, become familiar with these ten principles proposed for the measurement of research performance: the Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics published as a comment in Nature, v520, 23 April, 2015.

  1. Quantitative evaluation should support qualitative, expert assessment
  2. Measure performance against the research missions of the institution, group or researcher
  3. Protect excellence in locally relevant research
  4. Keep data collection and analytical processes open, transparent and simple
  5. Allow those evaluated to verify data and analysis
  6. Account for variation by field in publication and citation practices
  7. Base assessment of individual researchers on a qualitative judgement of their portfolio
  8. Avoid misplaced concreteness and false precision
  9. Recognize the systemic effects of assessment and indicators
  10. Scrutinize indicators regularly and update them. 

Maximise your impact

  • Submit your publications to an open-access repository (OAR), starting with eCite, for reporting purposes and Library Open Repository (ePrints) for extra exposure. Learn more about OARs

  • Aim to get published in high-impact or peer-reviewed sources

  • Aim to publish in sources that are esteemed within your discipline, according to the Publication Reference Types e.g. A1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal or B1. Authored Book - research. See Publication Categories

  • Add descriptions of your datasets to the University's metadata repository, VIVO, so they can be linked with your grants, publications and profile for maximum discovery.

Read all about it!

Any attempt to quantify the impact of research publications has merits and deficiencies. Some of these are discussed, below: