Overview of Research Metrics

Use this guide to find information about:

  • Overview of Research Metrics
  • Journal Impact Factor •Author Impact (h-index)
  • Researcher Profile & Alternative Metrics

The Purpose of this Guide

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.

How do I learn more about Research Impact?

Questions about Research Metrics?

Contact your Faculty Librarian for assistance with:

  • assessing your research impact
  • using and comparing results from databases such as Scopus and Google Scholar
  • identifying highly ranked journals in your field


Why Measure Research Impact

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


These research metrics can be used:

  • to support applications for grant funding
  • to support applications for promotion
  • by a researcher to maintain their own research profile
  • in a Department and for Faculty reviews

Data 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
  • Using Altmetrics, such as 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
  • Cited half-life of journals


Further reading

Browman, H.I. & Stergiou, K.I. (Eds.). (2008). Use and misuse of bibliometrics indices in evaluating scholarly performanceEthics in Science and Environmental Politics, 8(1).

Howard, J. (2012). Tracking Scholarly Influence Beyond the Impact FactorThe Chronicle of Higher Education, 28/02/2012.

Hunt, G. E. (2011), Making sense of bibliometricsActa Neuropsychiatrica, 23: 80–81. 

Mutz, R. & Daniel, H.(2012).Skewed citation distributions and bias factors: Solutions to two core problems with the journal impact factor. Journal of Informetrics, 6(2): 169–176.

Public Policy Group, LSE. (2011). Maximizing the impacts of your research: a handbook for social scientists.  London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

Sula, C. (2012). Visualizing Social Connections in the Humanities: Beyond BibliometricsBulletin of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, 38(4): 31-35.

The MyRI bibliometrics toolkit includes a series of videos outlining the uses and limitations of bibliometrics in evaluating research impact.

LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog, a blog that share best practice on research and keeps the research community up to date with events and new developmens in this area.


Please Note

Potentially, any database with citations could create bibliometric measures. Each database that offers bibliometric measures primarily uses its own unique data, journals, authority files, indexes, and subject categories. Citation behaviour varies between disciplines as one discipline is different to another.

There is currently no overarching tool across databases.

Further reading: The diverse world of citation indexing services