Measuring research impact

Related: Publishing your research; Developing your researcher profile

Journal Impact Factors

The journal impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which the ‘average article’ in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The impact factor will help you evaluate a journal’s relative importance, especially when you compare it to others in the same field. Knowing the impact factor may help you to decide where to publish your research.

How to find impact factors

  • Web of Science database – use the Analyze option in the database to rank journal titles.
  • Scopus database – features analytical tools and journal metrics.
  • Eigen Factor – ranks the quality and impact of journals. Similar to Thomson’s Impact Factor.

Further methods for assessing journal quality:
(usually indicated on the back of front cover of the journal or the journal’s website)

  • Check the peer review process, e.g. Double blind peer review, Panel reviewed.
  • Determine who is on the journal’s editorial committee or board.
  • Establish the publisher and/or database that abstracts, indexes or publishes a journal.
  • Identify the rejection rates of articles in your journals.

Ranking Lists


  • Journal Quality List (Prof. Anne-Wil Harzing) – covers Economics, Finance, Accounting, Management, and Marketing

Sports Science



What is Altmetric?

  • A new way of measuring non-traditional forms of impact, which can be used for PBRF Research Contribution statements
  • Tracks and analyses online activity and attention around research and scholarship
  • Measures research impact in the media
  • Shows online conversations and commentary
What is Altmetric

What sources does Altmetric track?

  • News outlets
  • Social media and blogs
  • Post-publication peer review websites
  • Reference managers such as Mendeley
  • Policy documents
  • Other sources such as Twitter, Facebook and Google +

What can the data tell you?

  • What type of attention is this research receiving?
  • Where has this article received the most traction?
  • Which countries are engaging most with the content?
  • Has this article influenced policy, spurred new research, or engaged a new audience?
  • Are reactions to this article positive or negative?

But remember that the Altmetric numbers won’t tell you

  • The quality of the paper
  • The quantity of the researchers
  • The whole story

Altmetric is available at Lincoln University at three levels

  1. via Elements on individual publications

Click on altmetric-donut or altmetric-bar icon and you will be taken through to a summary of activity


  1. At the organisational level – Lincoln University.
    An organisational overview of Lincoln’s metrics is accessible via invitational link to LU account by registering your Lincoln email at Confirm returned link, login and explore.


  1. The global level by clicking on the ‘look at all articles instead’ link.

altmetric-global level

Resource Material

Author metrics

As well as Altmetric there are other methods of measuring the impact of your work:

H Index

The h-index is a citation based attempt to measure both the productivity and impact of an author.

Author identifiers

Author identifiers help you as an author to distinguish yourself from others with the same last name and initials, i.e. disambiguation:

Google Scholar Citations

Provides a simple way for you as an author to keep track of citations to your articles – you can check who is citing your publications and connect with other scholars in your field.

  • There are easy instructions on how to sign up to Google Scholar Citations and setup your own profile

Research impact videos