Research Impact


Rutgers librarians are ready to help you:

  • Conduct a cited reference search for your publications
  • Investigate various measures of your scholarly impact
  • Identify the high quality journals in your field
  • Provide consultation on various aspects of your research process.


Questions about research impact or scholarly metrics? Email to:

research impact page graphic of abstract chart

Overview of Scholarly Metrics

Traditionally, metrics based on the number of times an author's article has been cited by other researchers, also known as citation analysis, have been used to measure scholarly impact. Journal impact factor has been used in many fields as a proxy for journal quality. As more and more methods are adopted to disseminate scholarly information, traditional metrics are no longer sufficient to provide the complete picture of an article's or an author's scholarly impact. There have been alternative or complementary metrics, often referred to as altmetrics, emerging in this constantly changing research environment. These new metrics are utilized in combination with the traditional ones to evaluate scholarly impact more comprehensively.

Main sources for citation analysis: Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar
Main tools for tracking altmetrics:, ImpactStory, and Plum Analytics

Traditional Citation Analysis / Bibliographic Metrics (Including Journal Impact Factor)

Traditional metrics are based on counting citations. With the article serving as a representation of the research, more citations indicate that the author has had more influence on subsequent research. Various measures such as the H(irsch) Index have been created to quantify impact. You may determine your h-index in Web of Science (including Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index), Scopus and Google Scholar by searching on your name and the various forms you may have used. Please note that the values will vary due to the number of journals indexed in each of the databases and, in the case of Web of Science, the length of the University Libraries' subscription. If you want to start with a certain article and find out who is citing, you may choose "Cited Reference Search" by clicking the down arrow next to Basic Search in WoS. A cited reference search will also indicate where your articles are being cited and the impact of individual publications.

Citation counts also serve as a measure of a journal's quality. If articles in a particular journal title have been heavily cited, then the journal's impact is considered to be high. Web of Science provides a separate tool, Journal Citation Reports (JCR), which gives Journal Impact Factors for the journal titles included in the database. Scopus also offers a separate source, SCImago Journal Rank (SJR), to report on journal citation analysis.

Altmetrics (Alternative / Complementary Metrics)

While traditional metrics depend on the length of time since publication, altmetrics-short for alternative metrics-may be used to measure the immediate impact of born-digital scholarship by counting the number of bookmarks, views, or downloads of each article. Altmetrics tools also track evidence in scholarly blog posts, mentions in research oriented web services, and social media activity such as tweets or "likes" by researchers. Altmetrics can track how publications perform and monitor research influence for funding purposes.

Some Useful Links

Last updated: April 26, 2017