Measure your research impact

Researchers and academic staff may need to use metrics to demonstrate research impact and engagement. Both subscription services such as the library databases, as well as free services, are available to help.

When looking at research metrics, it’s important to think about what you want to measure, and what the best metrics are to achieve this. Different metrics focus on the level of the journal (across all its articles), the author (across all their publications), or an individual article. Traditional metrics may look only at formal citations, while alternative metrics may include impact in social media discussion, news publications, government policy, and more. A series of videos on research impact may help you think about the best way to tell your impact story. 

Journal Metrics

These are more traditional metrics that are designed to give an idea of a journal’s impact in its field. Because some lagtime is built in, this doesn’t give a good indication of the quality of newer journals, so you should also check the journal website to: 

  • Confirm the peer review process, eg double blind peer review, panel-reviewed.
  • Determine who is on the journal’s editorial committee or board. 
  • Establish the publisher, and/or the database(s) that index the journal. 
  • Identify the rejection rates of articles in your journals. 
Library databases 

The library provides access to the following journal metrics through our subscribed databases

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) 

This measures the “impact factor” of journals indexed in Web of Science, calculating the average number of citations in a year for all the articles published by the journal for the previous two years. 

CiteScore (via Scopus) 

CiteScore uses data from Scopus to calculate the average number of citations given in a previous year to the articles published by the journal in the three preceding years.  

SNIP (Source Normalized Impact Factor) (via Scopus) 

SNIP measures the average citation impact of the publications in a journal but then normalised for the differences in scientific fields.  

Freely accessible online 

The following metrics can continue to be accessed without a Lincoln account: 

SJR (SCImago Journal Ranking) 

Using data from journals indexed in Scopus, the SJR is calculated from both the number of citations received by a journal as well as a measure of the importance or prestige of the journal.  

Google Scholar (Google Scholar Metrics) 

Based on citation data of articles indexed by Google Scholar, they calculate metrics based on articles published by the journal over the last five years.  

Author metrics

Measures of author impact may include: 

  • total number of publications 
  • total number of citations for all publications 
  • calculations of average numbers of citations eg h-index, i10-index, or g-index 
  • number of downloads / views 
  • impact outside the research community (see Altmetrics) 

It helps get a reliable measurement for yourself if your research is published with a unique author identifier, eg an ORCiD number. Read more about how to develop your researcher profile. 

The h-index is one of the widest known author metrics. It’s defined as the maximum value of h where the given author has published at least h papers that have each been cited at least h times. You can read a detailed overview in Wikipedia including some of its limitations. Watch this video (1mins:20s) for an explanation of the limitations of the h-index for early career researchers.


The g-index is a weighted version of the h-index designed to better take into account the citation scores of an author’s most-cited articles. It is described in an article by Leo Egghe on the theory and practice of the g-index 

These metrics and others can be found via: 

Article metrics

Note that all counts are limited by the articles and citations indexed within the database providing the metric. 

Citation Count 

The number of times an article has been cited. 
Available via Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar. 

Citation Analysis tools 

There are tools to find the high impact articles in a research field. You can also use these tools to find who has cited your published work and where.  
Available via Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar. 

Article Ranking 

Method of searching by topic and then sorting the results by citation count. A specific article can then be manually identified as being within a certain percentage range. 
Available via Scopus, Web of Science. 


Altmetrics are alternative metrics to measures research impact in other contexts, such as social media mentions, government policy and news outlets. They measure non-traditional forms of impact, which can be used for PBRF Research Contribution statements. They track online activity and attention around research and scholarship, showing online conversations and commentary. 

Altmetrics are available from: 

  • Altmetric Explorer (login with your Lincoln email address) 
  • PlumX Metrics (via Scopus) 
  • Web of Science (usage counts) 
  • PLOS (Article Level Metrics) 

Altmetric Explorer tracks: 

  • News outlets 
  • Social media and blogs 
  • Wikipedia articles 
  • Post-publication peer review websites 
  • Reference managers such as Mendeley 
  • Policy documents 

It can tell you how much attention the research is receiving, what platforms or countries it’s getting most interest in, and whether it’s influenced policy, spurred new research, or engaged a new audience. 

But it can’t tell you the quality of the paper or analyse deeply whether attention is positive or negative.