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Research Metrics: Home

What are research metrics?

Research metrics, also known as bibliometrics (and increasingly research indicators), are measurements commonly used to analyse the citation patterns and impact of research outputs. These can be helpful in identifying growing trends in research, mapping activity against indicators such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and identifying potential collaboration opportunities, both internally and externally. Understanding the impact of our research is important for researchers seeking funding, career advancement, or societal recognition, and research metrics are one of a number of tools that can be used to provide evidence of this.

Why should I use research metrics?

Research metrics can help you to provide evidence whenever you need to demonstrate the impact and/ or reach of your research. Although they should never be used in isolation, they can be very effective in helping you to develop a compelling narrative. They can be usefully employed in the writing of any of the following:

  • CVs and job applications
  • Funding / grant proposals
  • Demonstrating collaboration
  • Demonstrating engagement with your publications
  • Demonstrating impact on policy
  • Demonstrating international impact /reach of publications

My Research Essentials citation analysis online resource

In order to fully understand and engage with research metrics you will need to have a solid understanding of academic citations. Our My Research Essentials programme provides an online module which provides an introduction to Citation Analysis. It starts by looking at what a citation is, and explains why it's not always true that the more citations a publication receives, the more influential it is. The resource also demonstrates how average levels of citation can vary depending on the academic discipline in question, and how percentiles can be used to assess the citation impact of a publication.



How can I use research metrics?

The Library provides you with access to a number of databases and research intelligence products which offer a wide range and variety of metrics. Choosing the relevant tool will largely depend on which metrics you are looking for. This section provides a description of the most commonly requested metrics, together with guidance on which tools provide access to them.

Publication metrics / bibliometrics
These are used, alongside qualitative data, to track the performance of research publications. There are many different types of bibliometrics and not all are based on citations! Some are used to track how research has affected policy-based decision making, whilst others are used to visualise how far a piece of research has reached wider society. Here are a few examples of publication metrics, together with details of platforms you can use to locate them:

Publication Metric 


Scholarly Output 

ScopusSciVal, Web of Science 

Citation Count 

ScopusSciVal, Web of Science 

Impact Factor 

ScopusSciVal, Web of Science 

Field Weighted Citation Index (FWCI) 

ScopusSciVal, Web of Science 

Outputs in Top Citation Percentiles 


Altmetric Score 

Altmetric Explorer 

Policy Cited Scholarly Output 


Collaboration metrics allow you to evaluate the research collaborations of a group of researchers or institutions. These metrics can be also be helpful for identifying potential collaborations with other researchers and/or institutions. They can be accessed via the SciVal research intelligence platform. 

Benchmarking of research performance (in comparison to others in your region, country and the world) can be carried out across a variety of indicators using the SciVal research intelligence platform. 

While research Impact can be difficult to define and evidence, a well-established method for this is to identify citations from government policy and/or NGO documents. These can help to showcase how your research is directly impacting on real-world policy. Wider societal impact can also be evidenced through the use of alternative metrics. These track online attention and general engagement with research by tracking social media, coverage in news, and engagement on researcher platforms. 

You may have an interest in a specific topic or area of research. We subscribe to the Trends module within SciVal. This allows you to undertake a deeper dive into areas of specific interest. You will be able to identify which areas of research are growing, and identify which institutions, authors and countries are making significant contributions to 96,000 different research topics 

SciVal contains pre-curated research areas which map to the 17 UN defined Sustainable Development goals. These can be used to review, understand or benchmark research activity  across any of the 17 UN SDGs. 

If you have any questions relating to this guide, or require further support with research metrics, please get in touch with us. We are happy to support you with any project you may be undertaking, large or small 

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