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Research Impact & Metrics


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"Measuring impact is not a perfect science, and there are many who argue against its implications altogether." (from: UC Berkeley: Research Impact)

It's important to note that any of the methods used for measuring impact should not be used to compare journals across disciplines.


Article-level metrics look at Citation Counts which can tell you:

  • how many times have your articles been cited?
  • what journals they are being cited in?
  • is the rate of citation steady over several years?

Use our guide to Cited Reference Searching to learn about using Web of Science, Google Scholar, and other library databases for cited-reference searches.

Author-level metrics measure your productivity and diversity of reach:

  • Scholarly output: How many publications have you written?
  • Journal count: In how many distinct journals or journal categories have you published?
  • What is your H-index?
    • H-index is an author-level metric that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the publications of a scientist or scholar. The definition of the index is that a scholar with an index of h has published h papers, each of which has been cited in other papers at least h times. It is believed that after 20 years of research, an h index of 20 is good, 40 is outstanding, 60 is truly exceptional.
  • How many times have you, as an author, been cited?

Journal or publisher metrics address prestige that particular publications are seen to carry. Some measures include:

  • Journal Impact Factor
    • Use Journal Citation Reports (video tutorial) to find the JIF used to rank journals. It is important to note that only journals indexed in Web of Science are measured -- Web of Science journals are limited by discipline and type of journal. 
  • CiteScore
    • CiteScore is Scopus's method of measuring the citation impact of journals. It calculates the average number of citations received in a calendar year by all items published in that journal in the preceding three years. Note: Because ODU does not have a subscription to Scopus, use of the CiteScore is limited. 
  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank
    • SCImago Journal & Country Rank includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database.
  • Eigenfactor and Article Influence
    • ranks the influence of journals and articles much as Google’s PageRank algorithm ranks the influence of web pages. By this approach, journals are considered to be influential if they are cited often by other influential journals.

About Journal Citation Reports:

Impact Factors can be used to:

  • Identify journals in which to publish
  • Identify journals relevant to your research
  • Confirm the status of journals in which you have published

Things to Know:

  • Not all journals have impact factors, especially in the field of education and other humanities. Only journals that are indexed in Web of Knowledge have JCR impact factors.
  • A journal only has one impact factor, but it may be listed in multiple categories.
  • An impact factor should not be looked at in isolation, but in comparison to journals in that same category- impact factors vary across disciplines.


Journal Impact Factor: In Journal Citation Reports (JCR), the impact factor measures the importance of a journal by calculating the times its articles are cited. The calculation is based on citations to articles from the most recent two years, divided by the total number of articles from the most recent two years.

5-Year Journal Impact Factor: In JCR, citations to articles from the most recent five years, divided by the total number of articles from the most recent five years.

Journal Immediacy Index: In JCR, citations to articles from the current year, divided by the total number of articles from the current year.

Journal Cited Half-Life: For the current Journal Citation Reports year, the median age of journal articles cited.

Eigenfactor: Similar to the JCR Five-Year Impact Factor, but weeds out journal self-citations.

Article InfluenceThe Eigenfactor score divided by the number of articles published in the journal. Measures the average individual article in the journal (as opposed to the journal as a whole).

Google Metrics

Google Metrics assigns an h5-index to journals. The h5-index is based on how many articles that journal has published and how many times articles have been cited. For example, a publication with five articles cited by, respectively, 17, 9, 6, 3, and 2, has the h-index of 3.

To search for a specific journal, click on Top 100 Publications and search in the box at the top of the screen.

Things to Know:

  • Google Metrics currenty covers articles published between 2013-2017, both inclusive. The metrics are based on citations from all articles that were indexed in Google Scholar in July 2018.

For more information see Google Scholar Metrics.

ALTMETRICS (Alternative Metrics) allow us to measure and monitor the reach and impact of scholarship and research through online interactions (primarily social media).  Altmetrics are a complement to traditional metrics.

altmetric icon

Altmetric is a web-based service that allows anyone to track, search, and measure the conversations about their research happening online on an article-by-article basis. You can download the Altmetric bookmarklet and click on it when you are on a journal article page (that includes a DOI).

In ODU Digital Commons and other databases, PlumX metrics will be available for items with a DOI.  Find out how many publications have cited it, how many downloads and views, how many blog or social media mentions.

These are examples of publishers that have incorporated altmetrics into their websites, or are compatible with the Altmetric Bookmark.

  • PubMed (Medline and more)
  • Research Gate
  • LinkedIn
  • Mendeley

Share your work in the ODU Digital Commons, and receive monthly download reports!


  • (aka Hirsch index) is a combined measure of both productivity and impact. An index of h means that your h most highly-cited articles have at least h citations each. You may have 12 papers that have been cited 100 times, but only 4 of them have been cited at least 4 times -- your h-index is 4.
  • One caveat about the h-index is that it correlates with the length of a researcher's career (i.e., researchers who have been publishing for longer tend to have higher h-indices). It can also be inflated by self-citation. In addition, the h-index ignores the order of authorship, which is very important in some disciplines. Additionally, because different disciplines have different publishing practices, the h-index should not be used to compare researchers across different disciplines. Average impact scores vary widely from discipline to discipline. ‚Äč
  • h-index Prediction Tool: Predict what your h-index will be in the future.


  • h-index based upon data from the last 5 years

i-10 index

  • i-10 index is the number of articles by an author that have at least ten citations.
  • i-10 index was created by Google Scholar.


  • The Eigenfactor score is a measure of the number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) year.

More Indices


  • weights highly-cited papers more heavily. An index of g means that your g most highly-cited articles together have at least g-squared citations. Your g-index will always be equal to or greater than your h-index.


  • (aka individual h-index) takes number of co-authors into account. Your hi-index is equal to your h-index divided by the average number of authors on the articles in your h core.


  • (aka contemporary h-index) weights newer articles more heavily than older articles, so that articles lose their value over time. This allows a clearer picture of more recent levels of productivity and impact.


  • takes differences in career length into account, by dividing your h-index by the number of years that you have been publishing.


  • the (square root) of the surplus of citations in the h-set beyond h2, i.e., beyond the theoretical minimum required to obtain a h-index of 'h'. The aim of the e-index is to differentiate between scientists with similar h-indices but different citation patterns.


  • Metrics Toolkit  --  From the website: "The Metrics Toolkit is a resource for researchers and evaluators that provides guidance for demonstrating and evaluating claims of research impact."
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