Research Tips 12: Understanding Your Research Metrics
Wednesday, December 30, 2020 Research Tips 12

Bibliometrics is a set of methods for quantitative analysis of research outputs. Bibliometrics complements qualitative indicators of research impact such as peer review, funding received, and the number of patents and awards granted. Together they assess the quality and impact of research.

You can use bibliometrics to:

  • Decide where to publish
  • Update online profiles
  • Enrich promotion and tenure portfolios
  • Apply/report to funders
  • Benchmark research outputs

The most commonly used bibliometric indicators include journal metrics and researcher metrics.

Journal Metrics
  • Journal Impact Factor: based on the average number of citations received per paper published in that journal in the preceding two years. Found in Journal Citation Reports.
  • CiteScore: the average number of citations received in a calendar year by all items published in that journal in the proceeding four years. Found in Scopus.
  • SCImago Journal Rank (SJR): places a higher value on citations from more prestigious journals. Found in Scopus.
  • Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP): a ratio of a journal's citation count per paper and the citation potential in its subject field. The Scopus SNIP normalises citation rate subject differences. Found in Scopus.
Researcher Metrics
  • Citation counts: the number of times a research output appears in the reference lists of other documents (articles, books, reviews, conference proceedings etc). Found in: Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science.
  • H-index: designed to measure an author's productivity and impact. It is the number of an author’s publications (h) that have h or more citations to them. Found in: Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science.
  • Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI): the ratio of citations received relative to the expected world average for the subject field, publication type and publication year. It can apply to a research output or group of research outputs. Found in SciVal.
  • Outputs in Top Percentiles: the number or percentage of research outputs in the top most-cited publications in the world, UK, or a specific country. Found in Scopus and SciVal. (Adapted from the Metrics Toolkit licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 license)

Elsevier has produced a useful guide that gives a good overview of some of the different metrics available and which ones can be used for different purposes.

Download the Research Metrics Quick Reference


For further information about the different metrics available please visit the Metrics Toolkit.