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
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.
Aim to get published in high-impact or peer-reviewed sources
Any attempt to quantify the impact of research publications has merits and deficiencies. Some of these are discussed, below: