How to measure research impact
Researchers, funders, and institutions are increasingly interested in the impact of their work.
Research metrics are quantitative measures that can help you select which journal to publish in and assess the ongoing impact of your research.
Use the resources on this page to help you understand what they are and how to use them.
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Article-level metrics help you assess the impact and reach of an individual journal article and the attention it is receiving.
Watch our video guide for a quick overview of article-metrics, and why they’re important to researchers.
On Taylor & Francis Online, authors can see their article’s number of views, citations (on Web of Science, CrossRef, and Scopus), and the Altmetric Attention Score.
Read on for more on each of these different article-level metrics.
What is Altmetric?
The Altmetric Attention Score or ‘Altmetric’ enables you to see the attention your article is getting from non-traditional sources, including:
Mainstream and social media
Public policy documents
Online reference managers
You can use Altmetric to explore the conversations around your work and understand the impact it is having beyond the academic world.
By tracking scholarly and non-scholarly online indicators, Altmetric LLP collects article-level metrics and the online conversations around articles on Taylor & Francis Online. “Mentions” that contain links to any version of the same article are picked up and collated, and the result is the Altmetric Attention Score, which is represented in the donut-shaped graphic.
On Taylor & Francis Online, the overall score for each article is displayed on each article’s page under the ‘Metrics’ tab.
You can click on the Altmetric Attention Score donut to be taken to a detailed report which will show you every mention for your article across Twitter, blogs, mainstream media outlets, Facebook, and more. You can also see demographics, such as which parts of the world mentions are coming from.
Why use Altmetric?
Altmetric Attention Scores can help you build your online presence, demonstrate the broader impact of your work, and increase the chances of receiving grant funding. To make the most of the data around your articles you might like to:
Use the Altmetric details page to identify coverage and wider dissemination of your research to evidence in CVs or funding applications.
See who is talking about your research – identify potential new collaborators and build relationships with key influencers.
Monitor other research in your field and see how it has been received by a broader audience.
Manage your online reputation – actively engage with comments and conversation around your work.
How is the Altmetric score calculated?
The Altmetric Attention Score is a weighted count of the attention that a scholarly article has received. It is derived from three main factors:
Volume (the score for an article rises as more people mention it. It only counts one mention per source).
Sources (each different category of mention contributes a different base amount to the final score. For example, a news article contributes more than a tweet).
Authors (how often the author of each mention talks about the article and whether there is any bias, e.g. one account pushing the same article automatically.
What is a good Altmetric score?
As with all metrics, you need to put an Altmetric Attention Score into context and take time to interpret what it means for your research.
The mentions contributing to the Altmetric Attention Score could be both positive and negative, so there isn’t such a thing as a ‘good’ score.
For example, an article may have a high attention score because of negative coverage in the news or mentions on Twitter.
Altmetric scores also vary by journal. A journal with a wider readership may have a higher Altmetric score because more people are reading and sharing it. So, a good score for one journal may not be good for another.
Why are citations important?
Looking at how your work is being cited can help you:
Understand how your research is contributing to – and influencing – further research.
See who is building on your research.
Connect you to other research and researchers in the field, and help you identify new opportunities for collaboration.
However, as with all metrics you need to dig deeper to understand what they mean for you. Citations are someone referencing your work – not necessarily an endorsement. Citations patterns and practices also vary across disciplines.
How do I check my article’s citations on Taylor & Francis Online?
You can see your article’s citations by navigating to the ‘Citations’ tab for your article.
Here you can also sign up to citation updates, powered by Web of Science, which include direct links to the relevant article, so you can easily keep up to date with who is citing your work.
Article views can help you understand the readership your article is getting. Check the number of full text views of your article using the ‘Metrics’ tab on Taylor & Francis Online.
You can also use Authored works to see the views of all your articles published on Taylor & Francis Online, all in one place.
Top tips when using research metrics
What’s your question? What aspect of research performance do you want to evaluate, and what’s your reason for needing to understand it? Can this be measured, and if so how? Be clear on this and then match your research metric to the question you’re trying to answer.
Use quantitative (research metrics) with qualitative (opinions). Research metrics are a useful tool but enhance them by gathering expert opinions: ask colleagues and peers for their thoughts too. Societal and community impact can’t always be measured by metrics.
See a more rounded picture. Each metric gets its data from different sources and uses a different calculation. Use at least a couple of metrics to reduce bias and give you a more rounded view.
Use article-metrics for understanding article impact, and journal-level metrics for choosing a journal. The quality of an article should not be judged on the journal that it is published in, and metrics should complement and not replace interaction with the actual research output.
Journal-level metrics can be useful for understanding how journals are being used by the academic community. Learn more about the different journal metrics, their limitations, and how they can help you to choose a journal.