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Research metrics

Information and resources to demonstrate impact using research metrics.

Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) Competition

A gleaming gold winners trophy cup takes center stage, surrounded by a festive explosion of colorful celebration confetti and sparkling glitter, symbolizing victory and success in a competition

RMIT is thrilled to announce the 2024 Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) Competition

Create a 60-second, eye-catching video explaining your research to a general audience for a chance to win a cash prize. It is your opportunity to be creative, develop digital literacy and visual storytelling skills.

The first prize winner’s entry will also go into the international Visualise Your Thesis competition.

Image © TensorSpark -

Introduction to research metrics

Measuring and describing the quality and impact of research performance is important for individual researchers and institutions. Researchers may need to demonstrate their research performance when applying for a promotion or research grant. Institutions may wish to track their performance over time and with relevant benchmarks. Research metrics are one way of providing evidence of research performance. 

This guide provides information on a wide range of research metrics, definitions and the tools available to locate them. This guide should be used in conjunction with the Research evidence for grants and promotions library guide, which provides instructions on how to capture a selection of key metrics, alongside example statements to help researchers craft their own. 

It's important to consult the requirements for each research grant or academic promotion process to confirm which research metrics are able to be included. 

As research metrics don’t directly measure the quality of research, they are often used alongside other qualitative measures when describing research impact and engagement. See the section on Responsible metrics for more information. 

This guide will focus on traditional quantitative metrics but includes further measures of esteem and altmetrics where appropriate. More information is available from the library guide Altmetrics

Maximising research impact

Many of the metrics listed in this guide are associated with researcher profiles in a number of platforms. Creating and maintaining your researcher profiles and ensuring your publications have been correctly attributed to you, will increase the accuracy of your metrics. 

More information is available from the library guide Researcher profiles and ORCID

Communicating your research may also enhance engagement with your outputs. This can be achieved by: 

  • Making your publications available via open access  
  • Sharing your research data 
  • Communicating your research on social media 
  • Joining researcher networks 

For more information on communicating and sharing your research consult from the library guide Strategic publishing

ERA impact and engagement

The activity of measuring and describing the quality and impact of academic research is increasingly important in Australia and around the world. In Australia, factors behind this include:

  • economic conditions and increasing competition for government funding
  • development of ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) which measures the academic excellence of research and the view that impact measures would complement this assessment
  • general concern to improve the operation of the national innovation system
  • need to demonstrate to the public that research funds are well-spent

The Australian Government seeks to measure the research quality of Australian Tertiary Institutions through ERA process. ERA is managed by the Australian Research Council (ARC). ERA 2018 included an Engagement & Impact Assessment report that "examined how universities are translating their research into economic, social and other benefits and encourage greater collaboration between universities, industries and other end-users of research" (Australian Research Council, 2019, Introduction, para. 1).  In this context the ARC used the following definitions: 

  • Engagement: the interaction between researchers and research end-users outside of academia (including governments, businesses, non-governmental organisations, communities and community organisations), for the mutually beneficial transfer of knowledge, technologies,  methods or resources.
  • Impact: the contribution that research makes to the economy, society, environment or culture, beyond the contribution to academic research.‚Äč

Australian Research Council. (2019). Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018-19 National Report. Australian Research Council.

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