Measuring Research Impact and Influence

Citation Analysis

Citation analysis or bibliometrics examines the linkages between citing articles. This is used as a quantitative measure of impact, influence or quality. This guide presents the tools that are available to measure the quantitative and qualitative impact of research; as well as how to track researcher impact. Use this guide to learn how to do cited reference searching to find out how often you've been cited and by whom, useful when preparing for promotion and tenure.

Why Measure Research Impact

Quantitative methods such as citation counts, journal impact factors and researcher specific metrics such as the h-index provide one means of measuring research impact.

These research metrics can be used:

  • Benchmarking and performance evaluation
  • Applications for grants, jobs and academic promotion
  • By a researcher to maintain their own research profile
  • In Department and Faculty reviews and National Human Resource Assessment exercises

Research impact can also be demonstrated qualitatively in terms of social and cultural applications and measures of esteem.

Data Measuring Research Impact

Data Data that is used for measuring research impact includes:that is used for measuring research impact includes:

Researcher metrics

  • Number of times a researcher is cited
  • Number of publications

Article Metrics

  • Number of times an article is cited
  • Altmetrics (e.g. page views, downloads and blog post about an article)

Journal metrics

  • Number of articles published in a journal each year
  • Number of journals in a subject area
  • Half-life of journals
  • Cited half-life of journals

Issues to Consider

Citation counts can be affected in a number of other ways:

  • No single source is comprehensive
  • Publication dates may affect your results
  • Frequency of a journal may affect results
  • Highly cited articles don't always mean excellent research, esteem must also be taken in to account
  • Research measures across disciplines may differ

Tools to Measure Impact

Tools and their uses in research analysis:

Web of Science

  • Author Search - for Author impact
  • Cited Article Search - for Article impact
  • Journal Citation reports - for Journal impact
  • ResearcherID - for Author profile


  • Author Evaluator - for Author impact
  • Citation Overview - for Article impact
  • Journal Analyzer - for Journal impact

Google Scholar

  • Citations - for Article impact
  • Profile - for Author impact and Author Profile

Other Resources

  • Publish or Perish - for Author and Article impact
  • Altmetrics – for Article impact
  • ORCID - for Author profile

Information in this guide has been adapted from guides created at Macquarie University , University of Newcastle & Curtin University.

Citation Indexes

Citation indexes track references of authors and their works included in the reference lists of their publications. They provide a means to search for and analyze the literature in a way not possible through simple keyword searching.

No one database will index all publications by an individual researcher.

Many databases include citation count data. The main citation indexes are:

When searching for citation data for an individual researcher it is recommended that you search at the least across both "Scopus" and the "Web of Science" citation Indexes.