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Research Impact and Metrics

Information and issues associated with research metrics

From the Research Whisperer

New post from RMIT's Research Whisperer "Are my publications any good?" offers some sage advice on research impact and issues around where to publish.

"You know when you have written a good paper. You know when you have, through the pressure of deadlines, or the tragedy of lost data, written a not-so-good paper. Hold onto those feelings, that sense of judgement. It will sustain you."

Research Impact

Research impact is increasingly important in government funding for research activity within the university sector. This has placed considerable emphasis on tracking citations of a researcher's published works and publishing within highly-ranked journals.

Citation impact
Citation databases are key tools in demonstrating the impact of an individual published paper or of a researcher's body of published work. They can be used to:

  • Demonstrate the impact of an article by the number of times it has been cited since it was published (citing references)
  • Use the author's references (cited references) to find the research that underpinned his or her work
  • Find related work in a field of research
  • Track the work of colleagues or competitors
  • Track the development of a theory
  • Identify influential (highly cited) papers and researchers or research groups

As no single database will contain complete information on who has cited a particular work, it is advisable to use multiple sources.

Journal impact
An impact factor is one way of measuring the relative ranking of a journal within a particular field. Ranked lists of journals can be used to:

  • Identify prestigious and influential journals in a particular discipline
  • Identify highly ranked journals in which to publish
  • Help determine the allocation of research funding

Metrics Toolkit
There are an array of different tools and metrics for measuring research impact. The Metrics Toolkit is a resource for researchers and evaluators that provides guidance for demonstrating and evaluating claims of research impact.  With the Toolkit you can quickly understand what a metric means, how it is calculated, and if it’s good match for your impact question.